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Moving the Moose to St. John’s corrects a longstanding MLSE “wrong”

It’s great to hear that the long-established and well-run AHL Manitoba Moose appear to be headed east—specifically to St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Leaf fans will recall that, from the early 1990s to 2005, St. John’s was home to the “Baby Leafs”, as the organization’s top farm club in the American Hockey League.  I don’t think the team ever won a Championship or anything along those lines, but the team was beloved and well-supported locally.

It was a crying shame—and an example of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment callousness—when the organization yanked its support for St. John’s and moved the farm team essentially down the road from the Air Canada Center to the Ricoh Coliseum a few feet away.  We all heard the economic arguments at the time, and about how great it would be to be able to call up players so easily, etc.

But it was a screw job, in my mind, and it left St. John’s scrambling.

They were able to “replace” the Baby Leafs with a Major Junior team for a few years.  I don’t know the story there, whether there were attendance issues or exactly what caused that team not to work in the market.  I’m sure someone from St. John’s could fill me in.

But I’m thrilled that the new owners of the new Winnipeg franchise (Jets?), who have long operated the Moose and acted as a successful farm team for the likely soon-to-be-Cup-champion Vancouver Canucks, will place their own farm team in St. John’s. (The Canucks will have to find a new farm team, it would seem.)

I’ll look forward to comparing the attendance statistics from the Marlie games this coming season versus what the new St. John’s “Jets” farm team attracts.

Regardless, it will be great to see professional hockey back in Newfoundland.

And there may even be a neat rivalry between the Marlies and the new team in St. John’s—at least from the perspective of the fans in St. John's who remember being left at the altar by MLSE.



  1. The Q team in St-John's didn't work because of logistics costs etc. Q Teams don't have the budgets to allow them to travel by plane as is required for st-john's

  2. Long time supporter of the Baby Leafs and part time contributor over at PPP... To put your mind at ease, the baby Leafs lost game 7 of the Calder Cup finals in 92, I was 4 at the time and asking my dad if they'd let the Leafs have one more try, didn't work.. Hoping the fans re-embrace an AHL franchise, cause like you said, it was a screw job