After only one year of existence, the Montreal Rocket has accumulated a deficit of 800,000$; and the low attendance has put pressure on the owners to find alternatives. The Montreal Rocket is currently in negotiations that would allow them to move in the Molson Centre, something the president of the team, Mario Messier, has called a “last resort” change for the franchise.
Junior Hockey struggles in Montreal
Montreal Rocket is not the first QMJHL located in the Montreal area that is having difficulties with attendances and survival. Previous teams located in
Verdun, Laval or Longueil all had similar problems in the past, and none of
them has survived to this day. If the Montreal Rocket cannot redress the situation
in the Molson Centre, they could be forced to move to a new location. Since
the last QMJHL expansions have developped most available markets in the province
of Quebec and in the Maritimes, the franchise could go south of the boarder.
The Lewiston Rocket?
Though the cities of Boston and Burlington (VT) have been labelled
as possible expansion markets, the main contender right now is the city of Lewiston,
Maine. Dave Adams, a Florida businessman, a Roger Theriault, owner of the Lewiston
Civic Center; have been courting the QMJHL Board of Governors to get a hockey
franchise Lewiston for quite some time now. In last December (2000), the QMJHL
Board of Governors decided to approve a three-years expansion plan in the New-England
area. It also has already been scheduled that league officials would travel
to Lewiston in February or March to visit local facilities and meet with city
It would’nt be the first time a QMJHL franchise
locates in the United States. However the precedent is a rather unique one.
In the 1984-1985 season, the Plattsburgh Pioneers played for 3 months without
winning a single game, so they folded and all their statistics were wiped from
the record books.