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ECHL approves sale of Lions, new owners say they are committed to Trois-Rivières

ECHL ECHL - The Canadian Press

SHREWSBURY, N.J. — The ECHL's board of governors has approved the sale of the Trois-Rivières Lions to Spire Hockey, the hockey league announced Tuesday.

Spire Hockey takes over the team from Deacon Sports and Entertainment (DSE), which also owned the now defunct Newfoundland Growlers ECHL franchise. The new owners say they are committed to keeping the Lions, now the lone Canadian team in the ECHL, in Trois-Rivières, Que.

The league had imposed an April 2 deadline for DSE to sell controlling interest in both of its clubs.

DSE said in a statement after the deadline passed that it could only find a buyer for the Lions, and the ECHL revoked the membership of the Growlers franchise "for failure to fulfil its obligations under the ECHL bylaws."

The Lions join two other ECHL teams — the South Carolina-based Greenville Swamp Rabbit and South Dakota's Rapid City Rush — as part of Spire Hockey's holdings.

Spire Hockey is a subsidiary of Spire Holdings, a property management company led by NASCAR industry executives Jeff Dickerson and T.J. Puchyr.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 30, 2024.