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ANTIGONISH, NS, April 15, 2008 – Maritime Junior A Hockey League fans and teams should not expect to see the Antigonish Bulldogs in the league next season. The team just celebrated 40 years of tradition last December but that appears to be coming to an end.

“Antigonish (Bulldogs) will not operate next year no matter what”, team general manager Danny Berry said emphatically in a telephone interview Tuesday night. 

The team has struggled the last several years and had been put up for sale for at least the second time in that period.

Berry had explained that the team’s majority owner Dino Sciavilla was considering two offers that were made to purchase the team last weekend, neither of the proposed purchasers has the intention to operate the team out of Antigonish. One is from a prospective purchaser from the Metro Halifax area and the other is from one in New Richmond, Quebec.

There are reports that the Metro Halifax group would relocate the team to that area and the New Richmond group would move it to that area. The idea of moving the team to Halifax would seem more likely depending on the people involved since the same meeting is likely to consider a request by Tim Shearer, the owner of the current Halifax franchise, the Wolverines, to move his team to Bridgewater. A site inspection team visited the South Shore town last week and are reportedly going to present a favourable report.

After negotiations are completed with one of the prospective owners, a request for ownership transfer will be filed with the league for consideration at a meeting of the Board of Governors scheduled for April 26 in New Glasgow during the Fred Page Cup Eastern Canadian Junior A Championship being played there that week.

“We had decided if no acceptable offers were received we would ask for a leave of absence for a year. If the league does not approve the ownership transfer that is what we will do”, added Berry.

When no offers to buy had been received by last week the Bulldogs current ownership group began to shop the team’s assets and made a couple of trades, one with Truro Bearcats and one with Pictou County Weeks Crushers.

With the offers on the table there is now a freeze on any other roster movements, according to Berry, at least until after the Governors meeting.

The Weeks Crushers reportedly announced a trade on Friday. The Crushers traded future considerations to the Antigonish Bulldogs for the rights to Stu Lenehean, traded to Antigonish earlier this season in the deal for the Bulldogs Donnie Grant. The Crushers also got the rights to Scott MacDonald, a young defenceman who is also property of the Saint John Sea Dogs, Jeremy Shepherd, a Gatineau Olympiques’ prospect, and a 2008 third-round MJAHL draft choice

According to a transaction on the league web site the Bulldogs traded the rights to Jeff MacNeill and also their 8th round draft pick obtained from Pictou County to Truro for, in both cases, future considerations..