The Lions of Trois-Rivières will survive… for the moment

(Montreal) The saga surrounding the Trois-Rivières Lions is not quite over, but neither are their activities.

Following a meeting held Tuesday, the ECHL governors decided to allow the Lions to conclude their season, while they are in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff race with seven games to play.

This decision draws a temporary line to recent chaotic months for one of the clubs affiliated with the Montreal Canadiens.

Deacon Sports & Entertainment (DSE), owner of the Newfoundland Lions and Growlers, had until April 2 to repay a debt contracted with the league, including one of 1.1 million Canadian dollars with the City of Trois-Rivières for the use of the Colisée Vidéotron. Both teams were threatened with being taken back under supervision and ceasing their activities immediately.

Earlier Tuesday, the daily The Nouvelliste reported that the City of Trois-Rivières collected an amount of $650,000. The sum was provided for in a bank guarantee letter.

If the governors of the ECHL decided that the adventure of the Lions could continue until the end of the campaign, that of the Growlers did not obtain the same reprieve. The news was confirmed by the league in a press release published on its website.

Since the end of the meeting, DSE is no longer the owner of the Lions and the ECHL is now their guardian. The costs related to the daily expenses of the Trois-Rivières organization will now be paid by all the teams on the North American circuit.

The Lions’ future is assured for the coming weeks, but it remains uncertain beyond the end of the season. According to The Nouvellistea group of potential buyers had come forward in the last few days to try to save the team.

Fix Auto owner Steve Leal and his group, Leal Sports and Entertainment (LSE), attempted to acquire the Lions earlier this year, but the sale ultimately did not materialize.

On radio station VOCM, located in Saint John, Newfoundland and Labrador, Dean MacDonald, president of DSE, mentioned that an offer for the sale of the Growlers and the Lions had been presented , but that it was refused.

In a press release, the owners of the Growlers indicated that the sale of the team could not be finalized before the deadline of April 2 and that the governors of the ECHL voted to end their activities. Still according to the press release, DSE has reached an agreement for the sale and continuation of operations of the Lions, pending approval from the league.

The Lions are in their third year of existence in the ECHL and have made the playoffs once, during their inaugural season, in 2021-22. Currently, they occupy eighth place in the Eastern Association.

The Trois-Rivières team’s next match is scheduled for Wednesday evening, when the Maine Mariners will visit the Colisée Vidéotron. The Mariners are only one point behind the Lions in the Eastern standings.


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