BOUCHERVILLE, Que. - The Montreal area could play home to another Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team in the near future.
Less than a season after the St. John's Fog Devils franchise relocated to Verdun, Que., as the re-incarnated Montreal Junior, the Lewiston Maineiacs have asked the QMJHL for permission to relocate to Boisbriand, an off-island suburb of Quebec's largest city.
If Lewiston's relocation request is approved, it would mean the demise of the only American-based QMJHL franchise.
The relocation would also give the Montreal area a second junior team after going five seasons without one. The Montreal Rocket moved to Charlottetown in 2003, leaving the city without a representative in the QMJHL until the Fog Devils became the Junior at the start of the 2008-09 season.
QMJHL commissioner Gilles Courteau confirmed Saturday that the league had received the appropriate relocation documents from Lewiston requesting relocation. He will now begin the process of reviewing the request and call for a special assembly of the QMJHL members.
No dates have been set for the review or the special assembly.
The Maineiacs franchise was founded in Trois-Rivieres, Que., in 1969 as the Ducs. After changing their name to the Draveurs in 1973, the franchise moved to Sherbrooke, Que., in 1992, where they became the Faucons, and eventually the Castors in 1998. In 2003, they moved to Lewiston and were rebranded as the Maineiacs.
Lewiston found success in the 2006-07 season, finishing first overall in the QMJHL and capturing the President's Trophy with a 16-1 post-season record. That earned the Maineiacs a spot in the Memorial Cup, where they finished fourth.
The Maineiacs have struggled so far this season, sitting among the league's bottom feeders at 18-34-0-1. As a result, their fan support has suffered, with the team posting an average attendance of 2,192, its lowest figure since its first season in Lewiston (2,102).
Construction of a multi-million-dollar sports complex is set to begin soon in Boisbriand, a town of approximately 27,000 people located 35 kilometres north of Montreal.