Mile One Centre
Mile One Centre is an indoor arena and entertainment venue located in downtown St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. It is home to the St. John's IceCaps of the American Hockey League. The arena opened in May 2001, as Mile One Stadium, replacing Memorial Stadium. The centre's name comes from it being located at the beginning of the Trans-Canada Highway. At full capacity the arena can seat 7,000 people.
Though the centre's name is often assumed to be a generic name based solely on the building's location, Mile One Centre is in fact among the many North American sports venues that have raised funds by selling their naming rights. In the case of Mile One, brewing company Molson initially acquired the naming rights for 10 years (2001-2011), as well as other privileges such as being the venue's exclusive beer supplier, for $1.5 million. Molson then resold the naming rights to Danny Williams, then-owner of Cable Atlantic (and later premier of Newfoundland and Labrador), for $600,000. Before the centre opened, however, Williams sold Cable Atlantic to Rogers Communications in order to pursue politics, but retained the naming rights personally. Ultimately Williams chose to name the centre based on the venue's geography.
"Mile One" is a trademark owned by the Williams family's charitable foundation, not the city, meaning that the centre can only use the "Mile One" name so long as it has the family's permission to do so. This implies that if and when Williams's rights expire and are not renewed, the centre might be forced to find a new name, regardless of whether or not a new sponsor is found. There are not, however, any indications of such a change in the near future, particularly so long as Williams remains as the local operator of the building's current main tenant, the IceCaps.
Although now home to the IceCaps, the building was originally home to the St. John's Maple Leafs of the American Hockey League. The Leafs played out of the centre from 2001–2005 before relocating to Toronto, Ontario to become the Toronto Marlies. Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) stated that the relocation was necessary to better monitor prospects for the co-owned Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Dobbin family were granted an expansion Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) franchise in 2004 to be later named the St. John's Fog Devils. The Fog Devils began playing at Mile One Centre in 2005. However, the Fog Devils would relocate to Montreal, Quebec after just three seasons in St. John's to become the Junior de Montreal. Many reasons attributed to the Fog Devils' demise including lack of fan support, a poor lease agreement and high travel costs. The Fog Devils' departure left Mile One Centre without a major tenant for the first time since the building opened.
Professional hockey returned to St. John's in 2011 when Winnipeg-based True North Sports and Entertainment announced a lease agreement with former Newfoundland and Labrador premier Danny Williams that saw their AHL franchise (formerly known as the Manitoba Moose) relocated to the Mile One Centre. The St. John's IceCaps played their inaugural season in 2011-2012 and are the minor league affiliate of True North's National Hockey League team, the Winnipeg Jets. In honour of this development, the Kraft Hockeyville pre-season game between the Jets and the Ottawa Senators (which was originally to be held in Conception Bay) was moved to the Mile One Centre.
In March 2015, it was announced that the Montreal Canadiens would move its AHL team, the Hamilton Bulldogs, to St. John's for the start of the 2015–16 season. The Winnipeg Jets will move their AHL team from St. John's to Winnipeg. The IceCaps name will remain in St. John's.
On September 22, 2014, Mile One Centre held 2 split squad preseason games for the Ottawa Senators vs. the New York Islanders. New York won both games 3-2, the latter game on a shootout.
The Senators will face the Carolina Hurricanes at Mile One for a preseason game on September 27, 2015.
The arena hosts the annual Herder Memorial Trophy tournament, the largest hockey tournament in the province. It hosted the 2002 AHL All-Star Game and the 2014 AHL All-Star Game in which the AHL All-Stars faced Färjestad BK of the Swedish Hockey League.
A National Basketball Association exhibition game between the Toronto Raptors and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003, was cancelled on game night due to an excess of condensation built up on the playing surface due to the inside temperature.
Other hosted sporting events include:
The arena is currently in bidding to host the 2017 Tim Horton's Brier.
The Juno Awards were presented at Mile One Centre on April 14, 2002. This marked the first time the awards show officially went on the road and was hosted outside the provinces of Ontario or British Columbia. In January 2009, it was announced that the Junos were returning to Mile One Centre in April 2010. This made St. John's the first city to host the awards show for a second time since they started travelling the country in 2002. The 1st Junos in Atlantic Canada.