mississauga nhl team

Mississauga wants an NHL team to compete with the Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs may have a century-long stronghold as the preferred NHL team in Southern Ontario, but one mayoral candidate is making a bold choice to challenge that.

Today, Mississauga mayoral candidate Peter McCallion announced his intention to bring an NHL team to the neighbouring city of Toronto.

McCallion is the son of longtime Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion, who served in office from 1978 until 2014 and passed away last year at 103.

"Our city can support a team, and we are hockey crazy. My vision is to have both an NHL and a PWHL team. Mississauga has more population now than when Toronto got its NHL team," said McCallion in a press release. "A Toronto/Mississauga rivalry would keep a lot of the sports entertainment dollars in the GTA. I know there are a lot of hurdles, but Mississauga needs bold vision and new ideas."

mississauga nhl team

Peter McCallion

For some context, Toronto landed an NHL team in 1917, in the first year of the four-team league, before landing one of six PWHL teams in the league's first year in 2023. Toronto's population was 521,893 in the 1921 census, while Mississauga's population was 717,961 in 2021.

In her honour, McCallion suggested the name "Mississauga Hurricanes" to reflect her "Hurricane Hazel" nickname. However, he did not refer to the current NHL team with that nickname in Raleigh, North Carolina.

"Mississauga is no longer the little brother or sister of Toronto. It's an idea whose time has come," McCallion said.

McCallion suggested using private sector funds to build an NHL-sized rink. The Paramount Fine Foods Centre currently has a listed capacity of 5,612 for hockey.

"An arena should be integrated into a large-scale mixed-use development of residential, retail, and commercial space. We have a housing shortage in Mississauga, and housing affordability is the number one issue," said McCallion. "Just look at what has been built around the Scotiabank Arena, and you get an idea of how mixed land use can
be integrated to develop a complete community."

However, McCallion's bold idea could probably be shut down quickly if the old guard in town wants it to.

The Leafs currently hold veto rights over any NHL team in a 50-mile radius of its arena, according to The Hockey News' Ken Campbell back in 2011.

The Mississauga mayoral election is set for June 17, 2024, with the seat being vacant since January with outgoing mayor Bonnie Crombie now in charge of Ontario's Liberal Party.

Lead photo by

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

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