ERIN – After its inaugural season in Erin, the Blitz hockey team is moving to Orangeville.
“We are truly sorry that we had to go,” said team president Tim Wilson.
“The deal breaker was us not getting out of Hillsburgh arena,” he said.
The team’s weekly 90-minute practices had to happen in Hillsburgh because the Erin arena, Centre 2000, didn’t have available ice time.
The Hillsburgh arena was closed indefinitely by the Town of Erin in February following a refrigerant leak.
Wilson said “it was ridiculous” the Erin arena didn’t accommodate them. He noted the mostly local fanbase is “pissed to say the least.”
Between minor hockey and the skating club, the ice schedule was “too jammed,” Wilson explained, saying “nobody would budge,” including the town which wouldn’t accomdate the team.
“The people running the place weren’t accommodating at all,” Wilson said, but he’s looking forward rather than dwelling on the past.
“We are stoked,” he remarked about the new opportunity in Orangeville.
The team, he said, “can’t wait to get there.”
The Blitz belongs to Western Ontario Super Hockey League, a new level of competitive hockey that launched in 2021 for players over 20 years old. There are nine teams in the league.
Wilson said the team is “99 per cent local players,” with some from Erin and Orangeville, as well as other surrounding areas including Acton, Brampton, and Caledon.
Although some players “were not too overly happy” with the move, Wilson said the team didn’t lose coaches or staff over the decision, and he believes the players “recognize the upside in Orangeville.”
The move is “all positive for the program for sure,” he said, and “good for business.”
Team inviting local fans
The new location, Alder Street Recreation Centre in Orangeville, is a 15 minute drive from the Erin arena, and Wilson said it has 900 seats making for “a lot to play with.”
The team hopes fans from Erin will make the commute to Orangeville, Wilson said, and is planning to “run promotions for them if they are wearing Erin Blitz swag.”
“We’re not gonna forget about them, for sure. It’s my hometown and we want to treat them well, and want them to come enjoy.”
Orangeville accomdating Erin hockey team
He added Orangeville has already “bent over backwards” to support the Blitz.
Wilson said one of the team’s players, Lucas Schott, has been knocking on doors in search of team sponsors. The team is also looking for local volunteers.
The Blitz will kick the pre-season off around mid-August with tryouts, conditioning amd trainging, according to Wilson, who anticipates the season will launch in late September or early October.
Early-bird season tickets are on sale for $100.
“It’s just going to be a lot of fun,” Wilson said. “Orangeville doesn’t know what’s coming; it’s real good hockey.”