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The American Hockey League has arrived in the great hockey city of Belleville, Ontario, and I was delighted to be working for the club in hopes of making it the premier franchise in the AHL from November 1, 2016 to April 30, 2019.
My role was Vice President of the team, and I was based at the CAA Arena working with the great support staff of the City of Belleville and the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League for exactly 30 months, as Belleville and the entire Quinte Region welcomed professional hockey for the first time.
Eugene Melnyk, the owner of the Ottawa Senators, purchased the team in September, 2016, with the club moving to Belleville in time for the 2017-18 AHL season. Mr. Melnyk and the Chief Operating Officer, Rob Mullowney, have already done a lot to make the Belleville Senators the "Green Bay Packers of the AHL" - a small town team with a big city presentation!
Belleville has always been one of my favorite stops as a visiting broadcaster. It's a community of warm, hard-working people who embraced their OHL team for many years. After the disappointment of losing their junior hockey franchise, their hard work has resulted in getting a team in the second best hockey league in the world - the AHL - for the first time. Everything does indeed happen for a reason!
It is an exciting time for hockey fans in the Quinte area, despite the fact that the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League were sold and moved to Hamilton in 2015. Since then the city has been working hard to get another team for the rabid hockey fans of the area, and they were successful in helping to bring the top farm team of the Ottawa Senators to town.
Not only did Belleville get a new professional hockey team, the city also got a completely revamped arena. The end result is a totally modern, state-of-the-art facility that seats 4,300 fans and features private boxes and luxury seating, in addition to affordable seats for hockey fans of all ages!
I encourage all fans in the area to check out www.bellevillesens.com for all the latest news on the team. You can also follow the team on Twitter @bellevillesens for all the latest news.
It was a real pleasure to have been the Vice President of the Belleville Senators for 2 1/2 years. Thanks to all the great hockey fans of the Bay of Quinte that helped us make it such a great success! Go Sens Go!!!
Former Vice President