Council to consider agreement to bring OHL Bulldogs team to Brantford

hockey players at centre ice

BRANTFORD, ON: The Hamilton Bulldogs, a popular junior ice hockey team in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) is considering temporarily relocating to the Brantford Civic Centre for home games while they are displaced for possibly three seasons from the FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton as it undergoes a major renovation.

At their Special Council meeting to be held on Tuesday February 7, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall, Brantford City Council will consider a proposal to enter into an agreement with the OHL Hamilton Bulldogs that would see the team relocated to Brantford and rebranded as the “Brantford Bulldogs.” The staff report, now accessible on the City’s website, details the terms of a Facility Lease / License agreement with the Bulldogs regarding its use of the Brantford Civic Centre, commencing in 2023 for a three-year term, with an additional three one-year renewals.

Through discussions and negotiations that have been underway since December 2022, the parties reached an understanding, set out in the Term Sheet appended to the staff report that will be considered by Council on February 7, 2023.  The Bulldogs’ contemplated use of the Civic Centre is contingent on the facility receiving substantial upgrades to meet fan, player and OHL standards. The total estimated cost of the upgrades to the Civic Centre necessary to reach these standards is approximately $7.5 million. The Term Sheet proposes an arrangement whereby the Bulldogs pay for the upgrades, while the City provides the team with a leasehold improvement allowance of up to $3 million for necessary capital improvements. The remainder of the costs would be contributed by the Bulldogs organization. In addition to the City’s contribution toward the planned upgrades to the Civic Centre, the report also recommends that Council approve the required installation of an HVAC system in the facility estimated at $1.625 million. The City’s total capital investment is recommended to be funded from the Casino Legacy Reserve.

“I am very excited about the prospect of bringing an OHL team to Brantford,” said Brantford Mayor Kevin Davis. A partnership with an established OHL franchise will reinforce the image of Brantford as a renowned sport-friendly city, as well as enhance the perception of the city as active, vibrant, and attractive to future investment, especially surrounding the downtown core. Furthermore, Brantford is growing rapidly, and would benefit tremendously from an upgraded premier multi-use event venue in the downtown to serve existing residents and attract new ones.”

In Canada, sport tourism is the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry. Sport tourism is a significant contributor to local economies and goes beyond hosting sporting events; it contributes to raising the profile of the host community, as well as its community and tourism assets, by attracting visiting participants and spectators. An internal assessment estimates a total direct economic impact of e$4,337,700 million annually resulting from the proposed partnership, derived from visiting team overnights and fan spending at local businesses. An estimated $297,250 annually in local wages is also expected. In addition, the Bulldogs Foundation will commit to working with the City of Brantford to identify and implement Brantford-focused social programs consistent with its main purpose. 

By attracting regional media, visiting participants and spectators, it is expected that this partnership will also serve to significantly elevate the City’s profile nationally and internationally.

For more information about the meeting where Council will consider this item or to register to speak as a delegation, please visit


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