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As the Sudbury Wolves celebrate 50 years in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), the team owner says the franchise will remain in the northern Ontario city.
“Wolves are a team that started in Sudbury and will remain in Sudbury,” Dario Zulic told CBC News.
“Sudbury’s wolves are part of the ethos of our community and I respect that.”
“His commitment to Sudbury is unwavering,” Zoelich said in a written statement to the media.
The statement came after Zulich’s statements at a press conference, during which he said that the team will play in a new arena “very soon.”
“As the owner of the Sudbury Wolves, I want players, fans and all Sudbury residents to enjoy our brand of hockey in a new events center, not a renovated arena,” he said in his statement.
“The location of that new facility within Sudbury, whether it’s in the east end, downtown or even the south end, it’s not my decision to make. It’s a decision by the council.”
In July, Sudbury City Council voted unanimously to reject a proposed $215 million budget for a venue and event center located in the Kingsway Entertainment District (KED), effectively ending the city’s involvement in the project.
Wolves are still at the 70-year-old Sudbury Community Arena at the moment.
Although there have been various versions of wolves since the 1890s, the modern team joined the OHL team in 1972.
In those years, it produced future NHL stars like Randy Carlisle, Mark Stahl, Nick Foligno, and most recently, Quinton Byfield, who was named second overall in the 2020 NHL Draft entry.
For the 50th Anniversary season, Zolic said the team will have commemorative jerseys to mark the achievement.
Zulich has also invested in a new HD video board, which he said will be the latest in the Canadian Hockey League.
He said, “I’ve gotten as big as I can get. I love it.”
Zoelich said he remembers going to games as a kid, and even seeing Wayne Gretzky playing in the arena.
While he was the biggest basketball fan growing up, he said he learned to love hockey and is looking forward to next season.
“We have the talent that will take us deep into the playoffs this year and into next year because we have a young team,” he said.
Scott Miller, author of the new book Leading the pack: 50 years of Sudbury wolves historyHe agreed that the team could have a strong playoff this season.
Miller said the team has been part of Sudbury’s identity for most of the city’s history.
“I think wolves are one thing, maybe besides mining which has pretty much been consistent all along, and I think that’s why they’re important to a lot of people here,” he said.