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Peterborough Petes Hope Financial Relief Provides Spark in OHL Title Pursuit

By Iain Colpitts on February 24, 2017

Dylan Wells and the Peterborough Petes are aiming to be the top dogs in the OHL Eastern Conference. (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

The Peterborough Petes will go into the OHL playoffs with a sense of relief, and not just because they’ll be in good standing in the Eastern Conference.

This season, their financial viability has looked gloomy as it’s been said the OHL’s oldest continuously operating franchise would be in danger of filing for bankruptcy if it didn’t receive significant help from the City of Peterborough.

Some of the pressure has been alleviated now that the Petes and city council agreed to an amended lease agreement that will allow the Petes to save an estimated $343,500 annually to go along with extra subsidies from the city.

Aspects of the renegotiated agreement include shared costs of new screens on the existing videoboard, decreased operating expenses for the Petes as well as five per cent of gross revenues from food and beverage sales at the Peterborough Memorial Centre.

It may not get the Petes completely out of the woods as far as their financial hardships go, but it will provide immediate relief in the short term.

The Petes are showing promise of going far in the playoffs for the first time in a long time, maybe even their last OHL championship season in 2006.

They’re jostling with the Oshawa Generals for first place in the East and conventional wisdom dictates that they should eventually take that lead for good thanks to the improvements they made at the trade deadline.

Nikita Korostelev and Christopher Paquette were brought in to make an immediate impact with the Petes, while the Generals were more concerned with bolstering their 2018 Memorial Cup bid. As a result, they traded stars Anthony Cirelli and Mitchell Vande Sompel for a king’s ransom of draft picks they could eventually flip for star power next year.

Korotselev and Jonathan Ang have been counted on as offensive catalysts while the Petes have gotten a lot of points from the back end too thanks in large part to Matt Timms and Kyle Jenkins.

Dylan Wells has been excellent in goal, but there is some concern about how much they rely on him.  He’s faced 1,569 shots, which averages out to nearly 36 per game, second only to Niagara’s Stephen Dhillon.

While winning the East is definitely in the realm of possibility, it’s been well documented this year how much deeper the Western Conference is in comparison.

But who knows? Maybe they could pull off an upset against the Western champs or take advantage of the fact that in theory, their opponent in the final could be slowed down by the bumps and bruises caused by facing a tougher road to the final.

In either case, the Petes are determined to show that smaller market teams in the OHL can pull off a title run.

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By Iain Colpitts| February 24, 2017
Categories:  Major Junior
Keywords:  OHLPeterborough Petes

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