The Milton OJHL franchise on social media and at work in its community.
The Milton Menace are the Vegas Golden Knights of the Ontario Junior Hockey League.
Without playing a regular season game, they’ve sold out of merchandise and rocked their social media presence while jumping into the real world at community events throughout Milton.
The franchise was purchased and moved to Milton from Newmarket last spring.
There was as an opening in the town after the former Milton IceHawks moved to Brantford in 2018.
Milton has a solid history with junior hockey, highlighted by the Merchants winning back-to-back OJHL titles and a Dudley Hewitt Cup in the late 1990s.
“We felt we could bring something different to the table,” said Menace president and governor Jason Tryfon.
His stellar career in marketing shines through in his Menace.
“That logo” has drawn rave reviews and led to over-the-top merchandise sales. Sportsnet broadcaster Jeff Marek chimed in with approval.
It’s no fluke. Tryfon and his long-time graphic designer went through “20 to 30” versions and got plenty of feedback from friends and associates before finalizing the look.
‘Merch’ has been a big hit.
Five re-orders have been processed.
Summer apparel sold out.
The hot tickets? Hoodies and flat-brimmed caps,
“That’s been staggering,” said Tryfon. “I know, because my wife and kids are packing the orders!”
The Menace is at 1,928 followers on Instagram and just shy of 1,000 on Twitter. All since March.
The Menace was lead sponsor or otherwise front and centre at six festivals and events this summer.
“The community response has been remarkable. When we walk into a restaurant with a Menace jacket or hat on, people come up to us and say they’re excited about we’re doing. They know about us,” Tryfon said.
“We are surprised and happy. This is a storied hockey history, with the Merchants success and the (Jr B) Steamers before them, with one of the largest minor hockey organizations in Canada.
“But we know there is still a big job before us.”
Instead of charging admission to the team’s first exhibition game this week, donations to Halton Women’s Place were welcomed.
“It was extremely heartwarming to see our staff taking the crates of goods from our arena to the shelter after the game,” said Tryfon.
“But there’s much more that needs to be done.”
Tryfon lauds the team’s “player development model,” led by Dan Del Monte. The Menace general manager owns the Bronko Academy.
Tryfon is also impressed by the resumes of the coaching staff, including their professional playing time in Europe.
Head coach Justin Peca coached Newmarket to the 2013 OJHL Championship Series. Defenceman Travis Dermott played for Peca that season while future Toronto Maple Leafs’ teammate Mitch Marner starred for St. Michael’s, which won the title.
Peca was an assistant coach with the Brampton Beast of the ECHL in 2017-18 and head coach and GM at Villanova of the OJHL from 2007-09.
Milton Memorial Arena received a Menace makeover, including large signage inside and out, ahead of the home opener Sept. 6.
“It’s all about the fan experience from the time you’re in the parking lot,” said Tryfon.
“We’ll spare no expense. We have to re-engage with this community.