It appears high level hockey could be returning to the city of Belleville, Ontario.
According to a report in The Intelligencer, the Ottawa Senators will move its American Hockey League affiliate from Binghamton, New York to Belleville for the 2017-18 season.
Belleville Mayor Taso Christopher broke the news of on-going negotiations to bring AHL hockey to his city to The Intelligencer. The Senators have had their top affiliate in Binghamton since 2002 with the team winning a Calder Cup in 2011.
The Ontario Hockey League’s Belleville Bulls relocated to Hamilton, Ontario prior to last season after 34 seasons in the region.
Belleville currently has a negotiation committee in place to bring the AHL club north of the border. Part of the issue is upgrades to Yardmen Arena. In addition to more than the $7 million the city is planning on spending to repair the boards, floor and refrigeration system, capacity is also a problem.
Originally built in 1978, Yardmen Arena seats roughly 3,200. According to the report, over $20 million in renovations would be needed over time to complete all the necessary upgrades, including seating.
Some of the renovations would need to be complete in order to satisfy the AHL board approval of relocation for the 2017-18 season. The story suggests Belleville would be looking for a lease of at least five years from the club and closer to the10-year mark.
The news of Binghamton’s relocation to Belleville comes with the Montreal Canadiens set to announce it will move its AHL affiliate from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Laval, Quebec.