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The ECHL Board of Governors met today regarding the ownership of the Newfoundland Growlers and the Trois-Rivières Lions, both owned by Deacon Sports and Entertainment. From that meeting, the Lions were saved for the remainder of the season, but the Growlers didn't get saved.

Newfoundland Growlers Cease All Operations
The Newfoundland Growers have ceased operations as of today. Dean MacDonald, Chair of Deacon Sports and Entert…
ECHL Terminates Newfoundland Membership
The ECHL Board of Governors has voted to terminate the Membership of the Newfoundland Growlers, effective immediately, for failure to fulfill obligations under the ECHL Bylaws.

Amid reports of the future of the players, here is the ECHL's official statement on the matter broken down as follows:

  • Growlers players on an NHL/AHL contract are ineligible to play in the ECHL for the remainder of the season.
  • All ECHL Contracted Players on the Newfoundland roster are Unrestricted Free Agents
  • Other teams can sign no more than two (2) former Growlers to contracts for the remainder of this season. These players are ineligible to be on the new team's protected list (this is essentially a version of restricted free agents and expansion protection)
  • Serron Noel will see his rights transferred to the Allen Americans as part of a future considerations trade.

Deacon had taken out loans and time to pay back was past due. The most likely scenario heading into today was the elimination of both teams, but it seems the Lions were saved at the last minute. The Growlers were not.

Adam had an FTB coming out tomorrow or Thursday on this topic, here's what he had gathered from Elliotte Friedman on Saturday.

Here's quotes from Friedman transcribed by Adam.

"Barring a major change on Tuesday, both of these two teams could have their operations suspended, if a sale cannot be worked out. The same owner (Deacon Sports and Entertainment) owns the two teams, but there's been a lengthy behind-the-scenes battle over payments to the cities and some of the NHL teams, and they've put a deadline. And if it isn't solved by Tuesday, then there's going to be a board meeting and they're going to suspend operations of the team."

The Growlers had six games to end their season, they have all been cancelled. Three ironically against the Lions this upcoming weekend and then three against the Norfolk Admirals to end the season. The Growlers were fifth in the North division of seven teams and were going to miss the playoffs. The Growlers won the Kelly Cup in their inaugural 2019 season and lost in the conference finals the previous two seasons.

The team's leading scorer is Isaac Johnson, who's played two games with the Marlies this season. Goalie Vyacheslav Peksa is the lone player on an NHL contract and will likely report to the Marlies.

The Leafs and Marlies will inevitably have to find another ECHL affiliate for next season, and possibly find homes for some of their AHL-contracted players on loan for the end of the season and into the playoffs.


The Growlers published a statement on their website, but less than five minutes later the site was shutdown.

Thanks to Dillon Collins at THN for getting a copy of the statement. Here it is below.

Despite the efforts of our front-office, Deacon Sports and Entertainment regrets to announce that the sale of the Newfoundland Growlers could not be finalized prior to the league-mandated April 2, 2024 deadline. Due to unforeseen challenges, and while a discussion was put forth to salvage the future of both teams, only the continuation of the Trois-Rivières Lions was approved by the ECHL, and as a result, the ECHL Board of Governors has voted to terminate the league membership of the Newfoundland Growlers.

Deacon Sports and Entertainment has reached an agreement for the sale and continued operations of the Trois-Rivières Lions, pending the approval of the ECHL. The decision to sell the Trois-Rivières Lions comes after careful consideration and strategic planning to ensure the continued success and growth of the franchise.

We extend our heartfelt appreciation to our fans, sponsors, partners, staff, and the hundreds of players who have proudly represented the Growlers, whose unwavering resilience and support has been instrumental to our on-ice product.

Deacon Sports and Entertainment extends sincere gratitude to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montréal Canadiens for their support over the past six seasons.
Refunds for home games that have yet to be played will be automatically processed by the Mary Brown’s Centre box office. For more information about the refund process please contact the appropriate team sales department using the contact information listed below.

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