Spirits at a haunted Bracebridge landmark have given the town’s newest hockey team its identity.
Bracebridge’s newest hockey team has a name. Inspired by the ghosts haunting the Inn at the Falls, the Bracebridge Phantoms are set to hit the ice against its GMHL rivals next season.
Having received approval to begin playing in the Greater Metro Hockey League (GMHL), the newly minted Bracebridge Phantoms are set to hit the ice next season. When it came to giving the team a name, owner Tim Dickieson said he was inspired by a prior visit to the Inn at the Falls.
“My wife and I spent some time at the Inn at the Falls. We stayed in the haunted room, so we kind of thought that was a little unique to the area,” he said.
Though Dickieson didn’t see any ghosts during his stay at the inn, room 105 has a reputation for reportedly being the most haunted room at the hotel. Other hauntings have been reported in various other areas of the inn. The inn’s website identifies three ghosts on the property, said to be friendly spirits, which mostly keep to themselves.
The GMHL gave its approval for the new team after two owners’ meetings held following the season’s playoff games. Though the team has yet to formally announce a coaching and player lineup, Dickieson said he’s already received positive feedback from the local community.
“We’re up on Facebook and Twitter, and we’ve been getting a lot of positive responses,” he said.
The logo for the team, which features a grim reaper-type phantom holding a hockey stick, was designed by Dickieson’s daughter, a recent marketing graduate. Although Dickieson originally intended to get the community involved in designing the team’s brand, he said time constraints got in the way.
“We were under some time constraints with regard to the business end of it, to get the team up and running,” he said.
Dickieson said the team will host a number of camps before the season begins and is expected to make an announcement on coaching staff this week. On its Facebook page, the team announced that it is currently seeking players between the ages of 15 and 21. The players will be drafted in early May.
“We’re definitely looking at all local players, I think that’s going to be a very important part of having the team in Bracebridge, to make sure we can provide a place for local players to play,” he said.
Bracebridge council had expressed support for the team at a general committee meeting in late March.
According to documents Dickieson provided to the town at the time, the new team is expected to have a budget of $150,000 and will have 26 players. The Phantoms will be regional rivals to the South Muskoka Shield in Gravenhurst — the only other GMHL team in Muskoka.
Documents by town staff note that the Phantoms are expected to generate up to $28,000 each year for the town’s arena from ice and auditorium rental fees.
Founded in 2006, the GMHL currently features 13 teams from across Ontario. However, because it does not fall under Hockey Canada’s authority, it has been branded an “outlaw” league by Hockey Canada — the governing body for ice hockey in the country. Bracebridge is one of five teams joining the league next season, along with the Bradford Bulls, Powassan Eagles, Rama Aces and the Toronto Attack.