Agreement entered to sell Plymouth Whalers, relocate team to Flint

Fans of the Plymouth Whalers may soon have to drive to a new city to watch a game. 

Owner Peter Karmanos Jr. announced in a Wednesday-morning news conference that he has entered a purchasing agreement to sell the Whalers, relocating the team to Flint. The team's name would also be changed. Officials say they plan to hold a contest asking participants to choose the new team name.  

That company lined up to purchase the team is Florida-based IMS Hockey Corporation. The purchase is contingent on the approval of the board of governors of the Ontario Hockey League, which currently owns the Whalers. 

The potential IMS buyer, Rolf Nilsen, owns the Perani Arena in Flint and says he hopes to bring good hockey back to the area. Karmanos added he is happy the team is staying in the United States. 

"Flint is an ideal location for an Ontario Hockey League team. They have a natural rival in the Saginaw team, as well as Sarnia sitting just across the river ...  and Windsor as well. So I've enjoyed owning the OHL team probably as much, if not more, than an NHL team," says Karmanos. 

The OHL is one of three leagues in North America that feeds into the talent seen in the NHL. 

The Plymouth Whalers have been in the metro Detroit area since around 1990. They've been at Compuware Arena since the 1996-1997 season. Sources say plans are in the works for the future of the arena. 

As for now, at least 14 more games will be played in Plymouth. 

The sale will likely be finalized by the end of the season. 

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