Growlers may cease operations, leaving Leafs without an ECHL affiliate

Mike Armenti
April 2, 2024  (4:47 PM)

The Newfoundland Growlers may cease operations, leaving the Maple Leafs without an ECHL affiliate
Photo credit: Jeff Parsons / Newfoundland Growlers

The Toronto Maple Leafs may soon be without an ECHL affiliate, as the Newfoundland Growlers are facing the very real possibility of ceasing operations, according to reports.

The Growlers are one of the ECHL teams who were in financial distress, along with the Trois-Rivières Lions, with both teams being owned by Deacon Sports & Entertainment. Per an official report from agent Darryl Wolski, Deacon Sports & Entertainment has cut a cheque for $625,000 to pay a part of the outstanding debt, though that is not expected to keep the Growlers afloat. They could cease operations this season, while Trois-Rivières appears likely to continue operations through this season.
What does this mean for the Toronto Maple Leafs? Well, for starters, this will impact their development program greatly. The Leafs have a number of goaltenders in the AHL and ECHL competing for starts already. If the Growlers cease operations, the Marlies aren't in a position to bring in any additional goaltenders, as there won't be enough starts to go around, which is very tough luck for Dryden McKay and Vyacheslav Peksa.
Some other players within the Leafs' organization who may be impacted are Grant Cruikshank, Keenan Suthers, Nolan Dillingham and Jonny Tychonick.
This is troubling news for the Maple Leafs organization and there are more questions than answers at this point. There are reports circulating that the Growlers have already informed players that they're going to enter the free agent market as early as today.
Previous to former Leafs GM Kyle Dubas striking a deal with the Newfoundland Growlers, the Leafs had been using the Orlando Solar Bears as their ECHL affiliate. They are now the ECHL affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the players impacted by this unfortunate news and we'll continue to monitor the situation and provide any additional updates that we can.
2 AVRIL   |   316 ANSWERS
Growlers may cease operations, leaving Leafs without an ECHL affiliate

Will the Toronto Maple Leafs have a new ECHL affiliate in time for the 2024-25 season?

Yes23674.7 %
No8025.3 %
Latest 10 stories