Published on August 09, 2011
Marshall Brown of the Halifax Rainmen goes up for a layup against the Saint John Mill Rats in Premier Basketball League action last December. These teams could be playing in Summerside in the fall.
Ryan Taplin/Metro Halifax
Published on July 27, 2011
National Basketball League of Canada
Host city not yet announced
SUMMERSIDE ‚Äď P.E.I.‚Äôs professional basketball franchise is now a slam-dunk.
The only thing that remains to be seen is where the National Basketball League of Canada (NBL) franchise will play its home games.
The league announced its formal acceptance of a P.E.I. team on Tuesday.
Cornwall residents Duncan Shaw and Darren MacKay co-own the franchise.
Shaw said a decision on the host city will be announced later this week, but revealed the team will only have one home base.
‚ÄúYou have to pick a place to play, but it‚Äôs very much an Island-wide franchise,‚ÄĚ said Shaw. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôre going to try and have our folks in every community on the Island, and try and get out there and spread the word about what we're trying to do.‚ÄĚ
There has been speculation on whether the team would play all of its home games in either Summerside or Charlottetown, or split its schedule between the two cities.
The NBL schedule is comprised of 36 games, half of which will be played at the home venue. The team will begin its schedule in early November.
The Summerside Chamber of Commerce is hosting a business mixer on Thursday, and promise a special announcement ‚Äúthat brings good news to the ‚ÄėIsland‚Äô and ‚ÄėSummerside.‚Äô‚ÄĚ Sources say the announcement may be related to the NBL franchise.
The manager of the Charlottetown Civic Centre previously said negotiations with Shaw and MacKay were ongoing, but scheduling conflicts with the P.E.I. Rocket hockey team could be an issue.
Summerside‚Äôs Credit Union Place has the advantage over the capital city in the form of a basketball court, a legacy of the 2009 Canada Games.
The Civic Centre doesn‚Äôt have a floor, and would require funding of up to $150,000 to cover the expense.
NBL president Andre Levingston left the venue decision up to the owners, but said the entire province will be in for entertaining basketball regardless of where the team plays.
‚Äú(Islanders) are going to see some unusually big kids walking around ‚Äď big strong and fast,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúThe entertainment is going to be unmatched. They can‚Äôt really fathom yet what to expect, but they‚Äôre going to be absolutely thrilled when they see the level of play that these guys have in our league.‚ÄĚ
The NBL will be made up of seven teams, including squads from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario.
The league will hold a three-round draft Aug. 20 to 21 in Toronto. The first day is open to free agent players from around the world, while only Canadians will be drafted on the second day.
The schedule has left the Island team‚Äôs owners with lots to do, and little time.
‚ÄúNow we scramble,‚ÄĚ laughed Shaw. ‚ÄúThe draft is in two weeks and we are talking to some coaches, players...and starting to organize some sponsorships. There‚Äôs an awful lot of things to get done, but we're putting together a good team and I think we can put it all together.‚ÄĚ
For more on the league, visit www.nblcanada.com