The Sudbury Wolves franchise was established in 1972 when initial owner, Bud Burke moved the Niagara Falls Flyers franchise to Sudbury. Following a multitude of owners, Ken Burgess purchased the struggling Sudbury Wolves Hockey Club in November of 1986 from a group of 12 owners. Through his hard work and determination, he helped turn it around to make it the successful franchise it is today. Last season marked the Burgess family’s 29th season of owning and operating the Sudbury Wolves, which makes them the longest serving owners in the Ontario Hockey League.
“To say that my father saved junior hockey in Sudbury is an understatement,” says Mark Burgess.”The team had multiple owners and was struggling. They had missed the playoffs in seven out of eight years and had little support. The team was literally crumbling on the ice. He bought the team and went to work turning it around. In a few years time, we were leading the league in attendance and were in the play-offs.”
In 1976, the Wolves finished first overall in the OHA with 102 points, winning the Hamilton Spectator Trophy, and the Leyden Trophy for the Leyden Division. That year Sudbury reached the OHA finals, losing to the eventual Memorial Cup champion Hamilton Fincups in 5 games. The Wolves returned to the OHL finals 31 seasons later in 2006–07. The Wolves also won was the 2000–2001 Emms Trophy for the regular season Central Division title.
Over the years, the Wolves have helped develop numerous NHL players including: Mike Foligno, Randy Carlyle, Ron Duguay, Dale Hunter, and Don Beaupre as well as current NHL players Zach Stortini, Marc Staal, Nick and Marcus Foligno, Derek MacKenzie, Mike Fisher, Mike Smith and Minnesota Wild Head Coach, Mike Yeo.
The Sudbury Wolves currently play out of the Sudbury Community Arena located downtown Sudbury, Ontario. The arena, constructed in 1951, holds approximately 5,100 spectators (4,600 seats and 500 standing room) and has an ice size of 200’ x 85’. In 2007, the Burgess family invested $2 million in improvements at Sudbury Arena, which included new club seats, corporate boxes, washrooms, a video score clock and a speaker system.