After 9pm on Monday night, the Newfoundland Growlers released a statement titled “RE: COUNCIL STATEMENT: CLARIFICATION REGARDING LEASE AGREEMENTS WITH SPORTS TEAMS”. Basically an email regarding an apparent dispute between St. John’s City Council, St. John’s Sports & Entertainment (SJSE, the subsidiaries of Mile One Arena), and Deacon Sports & Entertainment (DSE, the parent company of the Newfoundland Growlers). The dispute boils down to (contentious) lease agreements between the two corporations.

RE: Council Statement: Clarification Regarding Lease Agreements with Sports Teams
Basketball fans stunned to learn that St. John’s is losing its Edge | CBC News
War of words between St. John’s & Deacon Sports and Entertainment
2019: 10-year lease deal reached between City of St. John’s, Growlers and Edge | CBC News

In recent days, it’s been announced that the St. John’s Edge of the NBL Canada league since 2017 was not getting a lease agreement with the arena and a new basketball team would be announced instead. The Growlers have a 10-year lease with the organizations that started in 2019 after an initial one-year lease for the inaugural season. In the statement, DSE claimed there was “no past liabilities, no bad debts, no prerequisite to resolve a third-party $1 million dollar dispute, and no covid-19 pandemic” in 2018, and that “in 2021 there is currently a $1 million dollar known liability.”

They also went on about the City claiming that misinformation has been circling in the media and that the possibility of new language being slipped into the 10-year lease to affect the deal moving forward as being untrue.

There is much more written in legalise that is beyond me trying to interpret.

While the three sides are fighting, the Growlers have lost some important members of the team and appear to be working with the barest of bones at the moment. Their head coach, John Snowden, left for the Toronto Marlies. His assistant, Darryl Williams, signed with the Philadelphia Flyers yesterday.

As of right now, the team has four names under it’s “roster”: the goalie coach, video coach, SVP of Hockey Ops, and the COO. On the team front office directory, there is also Chairman Dean MacDonald, Director of Minor League Operations (from the Leafs) Mike Dixon, and various other staff, although that list still has Snowden and Williams.

As for players, three were reportedly under contract for the 2020-21 season and didn’t play elsewhere: James Melindy (the captain), Todd Skirving, and Mark Tremaine (also worked as an assistant coach as St. Francis Xavier in USports this season). It’s unclear whether they’re under contract for this upcoming season or not, though it is unlikely they are.

It’s not unusual for teams to not have many players right now, especially since the Growlers didn’t play last season, but it definitely feels like everything is in wait-and-see mode at the moment.

Various Leafs and Branches

Maple Leafs Prospect Pool | by: Katya

2021 NHL Draft Profile: Marcus Almquist | by: Brigstew

2021 NHL Draft Order: all seven rounds and where the Leafs pick | by: Me

Bob McKenzie Final NHL Draft Ranking: Power pulls away from crowded draft field | by: Bob

Roni Hirvonen and Top Niemela were in some pretty prominent positions for Finland’s U20 game against Switzerland yesterday. They even combined for a goal.

Luke Prokop publicly came out as gay yesterday. His interview with the 31 Thoughts podcast was lovely.

In more legalise, the OHL is mounting a comeback, with a mandatory vaccine policy. I say good for them.

Pre-season schedules have been spilling out, expect the full NHL schedule in due time.

Here is your daily Seattle Kraken update.

Some contract news and rumours: