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Bulldogs off to a slow start in Hamilton

Hamilton Bulldogs goalie Charlie Graham stretches out and preps before the second period on Wednesday's game. Photo by Tyler Penney [1]

Hamilton Bulldogs goalie Charlie Graham stretches out before the second period on Wednesday’s game. Photo by Tyler Penney

By Charlotte McParland [2] and Tyler Penney [3] 

HAMILTON – The Ontario Hockey League parted ways with Belleville and looked for smoother ice in Hamilton.

One of the reasons the team left Belleville  for Hamilton was because of poor attendance at home games. Now in Hamilton, they’re facing the same issues.

Another loss on Wednesday against the Mississauga Steelheads has now placed the former Bulls – now called the Hamilton Bulldogs – in last place in their division.

The Bulls averaged only 2545 fans per game in their final season. Now, hopes that a larger venue closer Toronto would bring higher numbers and create a better fan base in Hamilton.

Teri Pecoskie, covers the Bulldogs for the Hamilton Spectator, and said that she isn’t surprised about the low attendance in Hamilton, but has high hopes for the team down the road.

“I’m not really personally surprised by the outcomes this year … and it’s going to take a year or two for this team to really grow into its potential,” said Pecoskie.

She added that the First Ontario Centre – the Bulldogs home arena in Hamilton – will hopefully transform the team and its players, as it was constructed originally for an NHL team. Fans may need more bonding time to really get behind this new group of players, Pecoskie said.

http://www.qnetnews.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/OHL-in-Hamilton-AUDIO.mp3 [4]

After a 5-1 loss on Wednesday, Bulldogs goalie Charlie Graham said that with the move, getting used to the arena was one of the most challenging transitions they had to make.

“It’s obviously different, (the rink’s) not the same size. We have to adjust and it was kind of the home ice advantage there (in Belleville), and I think we’ve done pretty well adjusting to the normal ice,” said Graham. The Bulls had an Olympic-sized ice surface to their advantage at the Yardmen.

“I think in the future we will start seeing potentially better numbers than what we’re seeing now,” said Graham.

Pecoskie added how pleased the players were to be playing in a NHL-sized arena.

“The players are thrilled with the facilities; they have an amazing weight room, and just an awesome player experience. The Bulldogs just hired probably hockey’s best trainer to work with the guys,” said Pecoskie.

The Bulldogs’ next game is scheduled for Thursday in North Bay at the North Bay Memorial Gardens at 7 p.m.

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