Serena Anagbe / Photo Editor
The Brantford Bulldogs’ game at the Civic Centre.
The Ontario Hockey League’s Brantford Bulldogs won their home opener in a 5-2 victory over the Oshawa Generals on Oct. 7
In front of a sold-out crowd, the Bulldogs did not disappoint in their first home game of the season.
After surrendering the opening goal of the game, the Bulldogs tied the game at 1-1 with a goal from none other than fan-favourite and prospect of the Montreal Canadiens, Florian Xhekaj.
Following this goal, the Bulldogs did not look back. Brantford dominated the 2nd and 3rd period, led by two goals from Nick Lardis, a 2023 draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks.
“The home opener was unbelievable,” said Connor French, the sales and operations co-ordinator with the team. “The fan reception has been fantastic…Brantford has passionate fans who have been waiting for OHL hockey for a long time.”
This was not only the Bulldogs’ first win of the season, but also the first OHL game to be played in Brantford since 1984, which was the last time the City of Brantford had an OHL team.
The Bulldogs’ recent move from Hamilton changed this, however, and Brantford will now have an OHL team until at least the end of the 2025-26 season.
“It was a busy offseason getting prepared for October,” said French. “But now that we’re here, we’re more than happy with where we are.”
The Bulldogs are currently playing out of the Brantford and District Civic Centre, which underwent hefty renovations before the season started.
“Five to six months were dedicated to getting the arena ready for the first game,” said French. “Once that first puck dropped, a huge weight was lifted off our shoulders.”
Seating just over 3,000 people, the Civic Centre was sold out for the home opener and has continued to sell out many more home games this season.
The Bulldogs will look to build off this terrific win this season and in their coming years playing in Brantford.
This article was originally published in print Volume 23, Issue 3 on Thursday, Nov. 2.