Skip to main content


Maple Leafs' ECHL affiliate Growlers cease operations

Newfoundland Growlers logo Newfoundland Growlers logo - Newfoundland Growlers logo

The ECHL's Newfoundland Growlers are ceasing operations immediately after the league's board of governors voted to terminate the team's membership in the league.

Growler players who are on a National Hockey League or American Hockey League contract are ineligible to play in the ECHL for the remainder of the season.

All other players become free agents.

“We are saddened to lose ECHL hockey in the Newfoundland market,” said ECHL commissioner Ryan Crelin. “We’d like to thank the Growlers fans and partners for their support of the team throughout their existence, and are hopeful that hockey can return to the region for their dedicated and passionate fanbase.”

The Growlers were created prior to the 2018-19 season and were the ECHL affiliate for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The team won the North Division with a 43-21-8 record in their inaugural season and went on to become Kelly Cup champions.

Newfoundland was tied for third in the North Division this year with a 28-28-10 record.

Deacon Sports and Entertainment, who owned both the Trois-Rivieres Lions and Growlers, could not  finalize the sale of the Growlers prior to the league mandated deadline of April 2. The organization reached an agreement on the sale and continued operations of the Lions pending the approval of the ECHL, the Growlers said in a statement.

"We extend our heartfelt appreciation to our fans, sponsors, partners, staff, and the hundreds of players who have proudly represented the Growlers, whose unwavering resilience and support has been instrumental to our on-ice product," said the Growlers. "Deacon Sports and Entertainment extends sincere gratitude to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montréal Canadiens for their support over the past six seasons."

The final six games of the Growlers' season have been cancelled while playoff seedings and home-ice advantage in the North Division will be decided by points-percentage.