NEW BRAND OF JUNIOR C HOCKEY COMING TO PARIS THIS FALL
By Casandra Turnbull, The Paris Independent
Junior C hockey in Paris is undergoing some major changes this season and not just the typical off-season changes to the coaching bench or player roster. The transformation comes with an entirely different name and brand built off the solid foundation of the club’s longstanding history in town. Acknowledging the team’s past successes and the dedicated Mounties fan base over the years, the new owners plan to not only build on it but honour it as well. Mike Christian and Jon Clark discussed this revolution with The Paris Independent. “It is our full intent to maximize the potential of Junior Hockey in Paris, and that will be evidenced not only in the upcoming months, but the years to come. We are here to build value and a brand the Paris community will be proud of, and that others will envy,” said Clark, who brings a wealth of corporate leadership to Paris. Clark will serve as a Senior Executive and Board Chair for the newly formed Paris Titans.
After several years of playing junior hockey in southern Ontario, Clark moved south to complete business school in the USA and has a distinct reputation for building numerous successful American-based start-up companies throughout his career. Clark explains the corporate expertise that Titan Hockey Canada (THC) will bring to Paris. THC will benefit from funding, marketing, promotion and executive oversight from its parent company based out of Dallas TX, Titan Capital Group. With over $70 million USD in its business portfolio, says Clark, the Titan Capital Group has been a catalyst in turning small companies in to multi-million dollar assets. Acquiring and investing in franchises like the Mounties requires the appropriate expertise and funding to instill a winning culture that will achieve early success and scale, said Clark. “We believe Paris is one of the greatest cities in Southern Ontario, and is a city on the rise,” states Clark. “After vetting numerous other Junior Hockey franchise acquisitions, when Paris became available, it quickly became a top priority program. The foundation that was built is solid and we are confident in our ability to take Paris Junior Hockey to new heights.”
While things will look quite different this fall, Christian, who will serve as team President and oversee all operations, believes it’s not about rebuilding but rather strengthening the pieces already in place. “We have word out and are seeking out available talent… the most dedicated and self-motivated individuals to promote our culture and win now attitude to the 2023- 2024 season,” said Christian. He began coaching junior hockey over 20 years ago, spending many successful seasons as the bench boss with Caledonia, Dundas and most recently Glanbrook. He’s in the process of moving his family to his new home base in Paris.
In preparation for the quickly approaching season, one of the first steps is recruiting the right roster. The first prospect camp takes place on July 10th at the Harry Howell arena in Waterdown. Prospective players and returning players will have an opportunity to show off their abilities where the incoming coaching staff will conduct on-ice evaluations. Interested players can register online to participate in that prospect camp.
Asked if there are plans to recruit as many local players as possible, Christian said it does become difficult because league and association regulations keep them from talking to players that belong to other organizations. “We encourage any local players that are interested in competing for us to seek permission to talk or skate through their current teams to initiate that interest. It would be a terrific feat to bring home as many possible hometown and local County of Brant players to win in their hometown.” And by win, Christian has set the bar high for this upcoming season, noting nothing less than a Clarence Schmalz Cup Championship will be an acceptable outcome.
Part of the Paris Titan branding includes plans to expand that hometown appeal by building strong connections with local minor hockey organizations. “We hope that with this change of ownership and rebranding there’s opportunity to attract these players and once again, provide the minor hockey associations of Paris, St. George and Burford the opportunities to participate in our home games at the Brant Sports Complex.” More information on that engagement strategy will become apparent in the near future and it certainly sounds like there will be some competitive, yet fun opportunities for youngsters to be crowned an ‘intermission champion,’ teased Christian. “The rebranding of the franchise is an exercise in itself and will take some time for the community to adjust; there is a lot of work that will go into promoting that brand and also respecting the past,” Christian acknowledged.
At the end of the day, both men agreed the end goal was to put their collective experience to work and provide fans with lots of engagement opportunities and giving them a competitive team to cheer on this season. The Paris Titans will debut their fast-paced physical style of hockey this fall. The upcoming schedule isn’t released yet, but Christian confirms the team’s home games will remain on Saturday nights at the usual 7:30 pm puck drop time.