Growlers Owner Blames City Discord for Team’s Demise

Growlers owner

In a bold exit, Growlers owner Dean MacDonald attributes the demise of the team to what he describes as an irreconcilable clash with the City of St. John’s. He asserted that the failure to strike a deal for the Mary Brown’s Centre, compounded by the financial strains of the pandemic, sealed the fate of the Newfoundland Growlers.

During a virtual press briefing, MacDonald lamented the recurring challenges his group, Deacon Sports and Entertainment, faced with city officials, citing disputes over venue control and access. He expressed disappointment over the collapse of negotiations for a long-term lease agreement in 2021, a setback that left the Growlers without a home arena at the brink of the 2021-2022 season. Despite subsequently securing a temporary arrangement, MacDonald described the operational environment as persistently chaotic.

The tumultuous situation was exacerbated by recent developments involving Deacon Sports and Entertainment’s other franchise, the Trois-Rivieres Lions. Reports emerged indicating financial instability within the Lions organization, sparking concerns about its impact on the Growlers. Meanwhile, MacDonald, who has been grappling with health issues, was in the process of selling both teams. However, complications arose with a potential buyer, prompting a last-minute scramble for alternatives. Ultimately, while a buyer for the Lions emerged, the league exercised its discretion to terminate the Growlers’ season prematurely.

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The abrupt conclusion of the Growlers’ season has left St. John’s hockey enthusiasts pondering the uncertain future of professional hockey in the city. MacDonald emphasized the necessity for any prospective team to gain control of the arena to ensure financial viability, while acknowledging the need for an owner willing to embrace risk.

As St. John’s reflects on the departure of yet another hockey franchise, MacDonald remains optimistic that someone with a similar passion for the sport might emerge to fill the void, albeit with a willingness to navigate the challenges he encountered.

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