The Newfoundland Growlers will play the first six games of their season at the Conception Bay South Arena, including the hockey team's home opener Friday.
C.B.S. Mayor Darrin Bent says residents urged town council to see if it was possible to have the Newfoundland Growlers play in their arena. He contacted the team Wednesday but the ECHL team had already accepted an invitation from the Toronto Maple Leafs, its parent organization, to play at the Coca-Cola Coliseum in Toronto.
But Bent said the team called him back late Friday afternoon after they considered how the players and their families had already made arrangements to be in the St. John's area for a month-long period.
"They said being in the metro region was much better for their players, their families, their management and, of course, their fan base," Bent said.
The change of venue comes after the Growlers were suspended from playing in Mile One Centre, with the City of St. John's opening an investigation into alleged "disrespectful workplace conduct" by the staff of the team's ownership group, Deacon Sports and Entertainment.
Bent said he's made the Growlers aware of the respectful workplace policies in C.B.S. and received assurances the town won't have to get involved in "anything going on between them and the City of St. John's."
Bent said he spoke to St. John's Mayor Danny Breen about offering the arena to the Growlers.
"He voiced no concern whatsoever," said Bent.
But the change of venue comes with its own challenges. The Growlers have about 1,000 season ticket holders, said Bent, but due to COVID-19 protocols, the C.B.S. arena can seat only 500.
In a news release on Monday, the Growlers said any tickets sold at Mile One Centre will not transfer to the C.B.S. arena.
The organization said tickets will be refunded by the Mile One Centre box office, and tickets for the C.B.S. arena games will be made available in the coming days.
Bent said groups that use the C.B.S. arena have been very gracious in accepting the proposal to host the Growlers in the arena for six games and some practices.
But the mayor said the use of the arena is a "short-term rental" and the town is not considering long-term displacement of the arena's user groups.