Rabid Habs

The LNAH Family rallying to save the Kings

On Friday (August 19th), Cornwall River Kings owner Steven Moreau shocked the LNAH world by suddenly announcing that he was closing down the River Kings franchise due to various financial reasons, in a move that even his fellow owners did not see coming.

newsThis news was devastating to the River Kings faithful, of course, but also to their players and other teams. Such an announcement this late in the summer leaves little time for the players to find jobs elsewhere, most lineups being pretty much set, and for the league to find investors to keep the team in Cornwall or, failing that, suitable relocation options. Indeed, most arenas around Quebec and Eastern Ontario are booked for the coming season and have no ice time available for an extra team/league. The news came shortly after the LNAH released its schedule for the upcoming season, causing major headaches to league management and huge potential revenue losses for all teams.

Mike Danton, a former NHLer who signed with the Rivière-du-Loup 3L this summer (and is moving his family there) who expressed his concern and offered to help as soon as the bad news came out, agrees and feels badly for his fellow players and everyone who would suffer the consequences of such a late announcement:

I feel for the players and the loyal fans. Hockey is nothing without its fans. They pay the players’ salaries and give them motivation and energy to perform on the ice.

The situation in Cornwall is a lose-lose. The fans lose. The players lose. The league loses. Cornwall players have families to support and are having the game they love swept out from underneath them. It’s the end of August … Where will the players sign? Other players in the league will be affected by this situation as well.

I think the illustration of support from the Cornwall fans, fans of LNAH and the players in his league portray a strong love for the River Kings, hockey and the league itself. Hopefully, enough can be done to save this franchise and add to the growing reputation of the quality of hockey and support for the LNAH.

Danton has sure done his part with his statements but also by pledging to buy a season ticket in Cornwall and raffle it off among the fans, as have his teammate and captain Sylvain Deschâtelets, Cornwall #Warrior Martin Lariviere and head coach Bob Desjardins, Laval Prédateurs shareholders Félix Soyeux and Alex Ben-hassen, RDL radio host Jeff Morency and Trois-Rivières Blizzard photographer Hugo Cotnoir, who went as far as to make the trip with his family from Berthierville to Cornwall to offer his support (and buy a share of the team) in person.


These people are only a few examples of people from around the league jumping on board and buying into fan Rodney Rivette‘s idea: gather enough people to buy the team and keep it in Cornwall.

To start, we, the loyal Cornwall River Kings fans wish to thank the governors and staff of the LNAH for the opportunity to try and save our team. Their commitment to their franchises and their fans are second to none. It is very humbling that we have already received over $100000 in pledges. We have started to collect the money from these pledges. We have also had businesses step up with sponsorship offers and people coming to purchase season tickets. The last 48 hours has truly been amazing.


Former River King Chris Cloutier and Rodney Rivette – Photo credit: Jason Setnyk

The support from our local community has been overwhelming. We have received requests from players and fans around the league to purchase season tickets to help with the cause to save the Kings. That being said we are still looking for people who want to invest in our business proposal. We are looking for $500 a season for 5 years. With this investment you get a season ticket every year. We are offering fans payment plans to help reduce the immediate costs of the investment.

This is working to attract more people. I would like the thank our Coach Bob Desjardins and all of our players for their support while we save our River Kings. If I learned anything from this adventure, the LNAH family is a strong one.

Desjardins himself, a long-time coach who’s earned the respect of everyone in the league, is amazed at the current movement and only wants a chance to be able to ice this team, which he was instrumental in building over the summer:

I think that what Rodney Rivette and the fanbase have achieved in such a short period of time is incredible. I believe in this project and hope with all my heart that it will work. The Cornwall people are true hockey fans, they want a winning team and that’s what we built this summer: a tough, spectacular, exciting team that would represent Cornwall the way it should be represented. And I can tell you that some teams were dreadful about playing ours, one which wouldn’t be an easy team to play against.

Photo credit: Photos André

Photo credit: Photos André

So I truly hope that I’ll get the chance to coach this team. Maybe I’d find a job elsewhere, but this is the team I want to lead.

One of those big acquisitions of the summer was Ryan Hand, a tough-as-nails stay-at-home defenseman and highly respected leader throughout the league, who himself has done his large part in rallying the fans around his new team’s cause since last Friday’s news, which was devastating to him:

I think what they’re doing to save the team in Cornwall is incredible. I’ve never been the type of guy to give up on something, and clearly the River Kings fans have the same attitude about this team.

Photo: River Kings Facebook account

Photo: River Kings Facebook account

I truly hope this team gets to touch the ice this year because I feel we will not disappoint. I was so pumped to start this season with this team, and when I received the news last Friday I was shocked just like everyone else. We can’t give up. We need to stay strong and fight together.

I cannot imagine how insane that first game will be once this is all resolved!

If enough people step up by Monday, we may just get a chance to see how insane it will be. And to witness a heck of a storybook ending.

And regardless of what happens, the LNAH Family will have shown just how united it is.

Montage: Hugo Cotnoir

Montage: Hugo Cotnoir

Hockey-ly yours,

Serge Côté