NHL ‘Grapefruit League’ could be bound for the Maritimes – Metro US

NHL ‘Grapefruit League’ could be bound for the Maritimes

A Nova Scotia-based group hoping to create the NHL’s version of baseball’s Grapefruit League in the Maritimes is holding a Friday press conference in Halifax.

Sources tell Metro Halifax the group — dubbed the Bluenose League — has reached a three-year deal to bring the Florida Panthers to Port Hawkesbury for part of training camp in early September and to the Metro Centre on Sept. 15 for a pre-season game against the Ottawa Senators.

Although the idea of a Bluenose League has been bandied about for several years, this announcement would be the first concrete step toward establishing the circuit.

It is believed other NHL teams have expressed an interest in multi-year agreements to come to Maritime cities.

The Bluenose League, which has support of Trade Centre Ltd., is spearheaded by president Ralston MacDonnell.

Teams have migrated to the Maritimes for camps in recent years, including the Boston Bruins to Halifax, New York Islanders to Yarmouth, Pittsburgh Penguins to Moncton and Columbus Blue Jackets to Summerside, P.E.I.

The Bruins spent nearly a week in Halifax last September and wrapped things up with exhibition games against the Montreal Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings.