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Old 11-01-2012, 07:57 AM   #426

Halifax Rainmen washes out Summerside Storm on the road 122-107 at theCredit Union Place (aka EastLink Arena);

Moncton improves but loses again to Saint John 102-99 at home

First-ever NBL Canada draft pick, Oshawa's Morgan Lewis, returns from injury in time to face Summerside at the GM Place and for 10 lucky fans to earn a large autographed photo of him:

Summerside trades Troy Gottselig to Halifax for 1st and 3rd round draft picks, signs Hansbro:

Oshawa falls to Quebec City 96-82

After getting their first win ever, Moncton falls back to earth 92-80 to Saint John on the road at the Harbour Station

Oshawa Power announces a kids' club to attract young Power fans in the Durham Region:

Summerside gives a hand to minor basketball teams in PEI celebrate Christmas with offering admission discounts for their then-upcoming home game against the first-place London Lightning during the winter break. Chandlers Home Centre pitched in to help out.

Though Oshawa outrebounds Halifax by double digits, the Rainmen still managed to eke out win at home in a 109-108 thriller.

But Darrell Wonge was named NBL Canada Player of the Week, a first for Moncton

NBL Canada weekly report--December 10,_Issue_7.pdf

NBL Canada weekly Canadian player report. Issac Kuon just got signed this week to play for Saint John:

Summerside Storm hono(u)red the Christmas Classic winners Three Oaks AAA boys and girls basketball teams with sending well-wishes to PEI's World Junior Ice Hockey rep for Team Canada Brandon Gormley before facing London that night. They let go Justin Garris to make way for Troy Jackson.

Moncton gets their first ever home win at the Moncton Coliseum by sending Oshawa its fourth loss in a row.

London Lightning make themselves part of the London community again with their first ever visit to the Children's Hospital at the London Health Sciences Centre

Quebec City's Cedric Moody hits a last-minute shot to send the Kebs-Mill Rats game into overtime at 86 all with a controversial tip-in from his own miss, and eventually the victory 98-94. Moody had 28 points to lead everyone. Ralphy Holmes produced 15 squared (in points and rebounds) for the Kebs.

Power were encouraged to meet and greet Morgan Lewis upon his return from his injury at the Whitby Boston Pizza

Oshawa's Christmas Eve game at the General Motors Place against the Halifax Rainmen was pushed to 5pm US/Canada EST (4pm US/Canada CST) instead of 2pm.

Lightning visited Summerside following a week off and got themselves another win. This time a tough one 107-98

Quebec City and Saint John again battle out in a close one 105-100 in a Quebec home win. All that despite the Mill Rats ralling in the fourth quarter. Also of note was the first triple double in the young league's history: Ralphy Holmes' 17 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists.

Chris Cayole suffers a high ankle sprain and Summerside had to sign Indianapolis native Stephen MacDowell

Clearly, Darrell Wonge is one the bright spots for the Moncton Miracles' terrible season that has seen some changes. Happy that new coach Mike Evans took the pressure off of them since he took over.

Oshawa loses a heartbreaking fifth straight game to the Summerside Storm 101-100 at home. Summerside stops theirs. Mike Williams pours in 24 for the Storm.

Saint John Mill Rats hosts a Rock and Roll Oldies Night against London
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Old 13-01-2012, 07:24 AM   #427

Jersey Express sign new coach, take on the Top Ballerz friday - Dec 28, 2011 (by Gianni Pascucci)

On Friday, December 30th, the Jersey Express will host the Connecticut TopBallerz in a Battle of division leaders, in a Pre New Years Eve contest, at the Jersey City Armory at 7:30 pm, located at 678 Montgomery Street.
Team Owner miss Marsha Blount announced that Ray Ortiz, who is a former star player from St Marys High School, and current assistant coach in Jersey City, has been added to the Express Coaching Staff, for the remainder of the season. 'I would like to take this opportunity to embrace the great opportunity to assist the Jersey Express Professional Basketball Team. It is with great interest that I will have the opportunity to provide my basketball expertise, which I have a great passion for. I have roots in Jersey City, and I hope to solicit and engage great fan support from the community of Jersey City. I am sincerely thankful for this opportunity;' stated Ortiz.

This will be the 1st visit to Jersey City for the Connecticut TopBallerz, with the teams holding a 1-1 series record. The Express are coming off back-to-back wins over NYC, and Staten Island.

The Express are featuring six players averaging double figures in points per game, and offer one of the most exciting offenses in the ABA, as they average 115.0 points per contest. Individual game tickets are only $10 for adults and $5 for kids.

Tickets are available at the door, or on the team website @

Colorado Kings jump to Nr.1 in ABA Power Rankings - Jan 2, 2012 (by Gianni Pascucci)

The American Basketball Association today announced its Power Rankings for the week ending Sunday, January 1st and opened the year with a new Number One ranked team, the Colorado Kings which replaced the Los Angeles SLAM which lost earlier in the week to the San Diego Sol. 'There's no doubt that Durrell Middleton and his team are very formidable,' stated Joe Newman , ABA CEO. 'They just returned from China where they acquitted themselves very well and are certainly deserving of the high ranking. We have some very strong teams in the league this year; that's for sure.'

1. Colorado Kings
2. South Carolina Warriors
3. Memphis Bluff City Reign
4. Gulf Coast Flash
5. San Deigo Sol
6. Los Angeles SLAM
7. Arizona Scorpions
8. Atlanta Experience
9. Texas FUEL
10. Carolina Cheetahs
11. Chicago Steam
12. Athens Razors
13. Jersey Express
14. Jacksonville Giants
15. Bay Area Matrix
16. Lima Explosion
17. Carolina Cougars
18. Richmond Elite
19. Conway Cyclones
20. San Francisco Rumble
21. North Dallas Vandals
22. Seattle Mountaineerrs
23. Connecticut Topballerz
24. Lynchburg Legends

For more information, visit

Jersey Express fall to Connecticut, 109-104 - Jan 3, 2012 (by Gianni Pascucci)

On Friday, December 30, the Jersey Express felt to Connecticut Top Ballerz, 109-104. Dexter Gray (6'7''-F-85, college: Iona) led the Express with 19 points, while Zahir Carrington (6'7''-F, college: Lehigh) and Prentice Small (5'9''-G) chipped in 18 apiece. Connecticut's Kelvin Davis (6'3''-G-84, college: San Diego St.) was the games leading scorer with 30 points. Jersey was without point guard Sedale Walton (6'1''-G-85), who is averaging 20.0 points per game.

The Express return to action at the Jersey City Armory on Saturday, January 7 against the Hudson Valley Hype at 7:30 pm, this will be the only meeting between the teams this season.

At noon Saturday, the Express; thru its collaboration with the Newark YMCAs Jr. Slam Basketball League, will participate in its 1st clinic of the season, for boys and girls.
The Express are currently 6-4 on the season, and average 113 points per game. For future games, check out the Express schedule here:

Gwizzlies beat MadHatters - Jan 7, 2012 (by Gianni Pascucci)

American Basketball Association MVP candidate Ramar Smith (6'3''-G-87, college: Tennessee) scored 51 points and Adam Yeoman (6'8''-C-87, college: Genesee CC) added 21 points and 17 rebs making the difference in Georgia Gwizzlies 151-141 win on Friday, Jan. 06 night over Tennessee MadHatters. Necomer Gwizzlie Chris Mark (6'6''-F, college: CS Los Angeles) had 42 points and 20 rebounds.

Coach Embry Malone stated on Smith and Yeoman: 'Ramar is on another level, and Yeoman reminds me of NBA Kevin Love. Both players will be granted workouts with NBA teams in June'

Nashville holding mid-season tryouts for run to the ABA Finals - Jan 8, 2012 (by Gianni Pascucci)

The Nashville Soul announced that they are looking for two big men and two guards to fill out their roster as they make their move to the playoffs. 'We need two big men and two outstanding guards (point guard, shooting guard)' stated team owner Paul Allsup . 'If you are good enough, you will be back next year too. Nashville is the largest market in our division with incredible benefits if you come here and give us 150% every day. Contact Paul Allsup at 615 715 8411 or you can email Once we hear from you, we will provide tryout dates and locations. Hurry. If you think you have what it takes to be a pro, we would love to hear from you and set up a tryout immediately'.

Colorado Kings continue to hold #1 position in ABA Power Rankings - Jan 9, 2012 (by Gianni Pascucci)

The American Basketball Association has just released its Power Rankings for the week ending Sunday, January 8th and once gain the Colorado Kings held onto the top spot.
'There were quite a few changes since the last power rankings,' stated ABA CEO Joe Newman . 'My guess is that there will continue to be a battle for the number one position as we have some very strong teams. We're definitely getting a pretty good picture and any of the top eight could well be ranked at the top.'

1. Colorado Kings
2. South Carolina Warriors
3. San Diego Sol
4. Los Angeles SLAM
5. Arizona Scorpions
6. Texas FUEL
7. Jacksonville Giants
8. Atlanta Experience
9. Memphis Bluff City Reign
10. Chicago Steam
11. Bay Area Matrix
12. Jersey Express
13. Athens Razors
14. Gulf Coast Flash
15. Conway Cyclones
16. Carolina Cheetahs
17. Connecticut Topballerz
18. San Francisco Rumble
19. Seattle Mountaineers
20. Lynchburg Legends
21. Richmond Elite
22. North Dallas Vandals
23. Lima Explosion
24. Carolina Cougars

'And the West Virginia Blazers, East Bay Pitbulls, Alaska Quake and Missouri Rhythm are showing some very good strength and will probably move into the rankings shortly.' For more information, visit
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Old 13-01-2012, 07:27 AM   #428

Jacksonville climbig the ABA table - Jan 12, 2012 (by Gianni Pascucci)

On Saturday, January 7, the Jacksonville Giants defeated, 132-118 the conference rival Atlanta Experience. With 42 points, 15 rebs and 11 blocked shots (!!), Jermaine Bell (6'11''-F/C-84, college: Indian Hills CC) was the man of the game for Jacksonville, and Nick Wallery (6'6''-F-81, college: Albany St.) added 19 pts and 9 rebs. Tim Ware (6'7''-F-81) scored 34 points and grabbed 10 rebs to be the best at the losing side. Thanks to this win, the Giants of coach Kevin Waters surpassed the Experience in ABA Power Rankings and made a pace towards the top of the Atlantic South Divisione, where observers expect to find the team at the end of regular season.

Predators announce assistance coach, Ryan Vaquez - Jan 6, 2012 (by Eurobasket News)

The Sauk Valley Predators announce an additional assistant coach to their organization, Ryan Vasquez. Ryan was born and raised in Sterling, IL and is the head coach for Sterling Public School's sophomore basketball team. He is a graduate of Ashford University in Clinton, IA with a degree in Psychology.

Ryan has coached basketball at Sterling Public School for the past 5 seasons. His current team holds a 13-3 record. Ryan demands hard work from his players on and off the court. His favorite quote is 'hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard'.

Ryan is more than excited for this opportunity to help out the Sauk Valley Predators. He also looks forward to the experience that he will gain from Coach Keathley and the players. Ryan will continue his coaching duties at the high school and hopes that this opportunity will help bring in extra motivation for himself and his players on his current team.

'We are looking forward to watching Ryan grow with our organization and continue to focus on the athletes not only on our team, but in the community as well', stated Brad and Leah Grenoble, owners of the Predators. 'Ryan immediately became interested in our team and was attending practices, so it worked out that he could become a part of our organization as well'. 'He definitely has the drive, enthusiasm and commitment that we are looking for on our coaching staff'.

The Sauk Valley Predators kickoff their 2012 season tomorrow night, January 6th at the Homer Musgrove Fieldhouse in Sterling, IL at 6:30 p.m. Individual and season tickets can be purchased online at You can also view the other Predator players and full schedule.

Courtesy of

Admirals prepare for PBL season home opener - Jan 7, 2012 (by Gianni Pascucci)

The Lake Michigan Admirals finalized their 12-man roster in preparation for Sunday's home opener against the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Steamers, Sunday, at Benton Harbor High School. The Admirals added center Garrett Schmidt (6'11''-F/C-85, college: Urbana) and guard Greg Plater (6'1''-G-89, college: Long Beach St.). The Admirals, 20-6 as ABA members in 2011, enter the Premier Basketball League in the Eastern Division with Rochester, New York, Dayton, Ohio, Charleston, West Virginia and the Steamers. They were 2-2 in pre-season competition, averaging 112 points a game. Team owner Chris Glisson says the final starting five is not solidified, but expect to see Shagari Alleyne (7'3''-C-84, college: Manhattan) at center with Florentino Valencia (6'6''-F-85, agency: Paris Global Sports, college: Toledo) and Rodney Alexander (6'7''-F-87, college: Oklahoma City) at the forward positions. The Admiral offense 'is there' according to Glisson. Alexander is averaging over 20 points a game in pre-season competition. 'We'll score a lot of points and the fans will see an intensity on defense they haven't seen in the past. This will be high-flying entertainment.'

Scranton Wilkes-Barre, 0-1, opened their season on the road against the two-time PBL defending champion Rochester Razorsharks, losing 107-98. The Rochester bench outscored the Steamers 55-5. 'You need a strong bench in this league or you're going to lose,' Glisson said. 'We have that bench starting with Steve Strong (6'3''-G-84), Odgra Bobo (6'6''-F-85, college: Oakland CC) and Courtney Blackmore (6'2''-G, college: Ferris St.). Courtney is a triple threat. He has a guard body but can still get up with the 7-footers. Courtney has the heart of a lion.' Glisson added.

Steamer forward Chris Commons (6'9''-F-84, college: USC Aiken) scored 34 points against Rochester, including five three-pointers. The team's other forward, Rob Robinson (6'8''-F-87, college: Robert Morris), added 26 points and Vincent Simpson (6'1''-G-88, college: Hampton), 20 as the trio accounted for 80 of the team's 98 points. 'Commons shot the ball 37 times,' Glisson said. 'One player is not going to beat us. I'm sure Coach Che Eddie has a plan for him.' Scranton Wilkes-Barre is co-coached by Dennis Mishko and John Bucci. Mishko was 520-160 during his 25-year tenure at Keystone College including two national tournament appearances.

The Admirals travel to Rochester, New York to play the Razorsharks January 22. Rochester visits St. Joseph January 28 at Lake Michigan Catholic High School and the Charleston Gunners follow on Sunday, January 29, at Michigan Lutheran High School.
For more information visit Lake Michigan

Sauk Valley Predators Win Season Opener - Jan 8, 2012 (by Allen White)

The Sauk Valley Predators opened their first season last night at Homer Musgrove Fieldhouse in Sterling, IL and it was a night to remember. The Sauk Valley Predators hosted the Indiana Diesels and won 140-95, with over 3000 fans in attendance. Each fan kept their eyes on the court with the amazing talent they brought to the gym. The half time show was a sure crowd pleaser, the acrobatic dunkers led the way with their trampoline style dunking abilities. Anthony and Beth Welty of Sterling brought their 2 young boys to opening night and said 'we couldn't believe the turnout that was here for the first night', 'the boys really enjoyed meeting the mascots and most of all, watching the dunkers show their stuff'.

Four out of five of the top scoring players had double-doubles in their first game as a Sauk Valley Predator. Carlton Fay (6'8''-F-88, college: S.Illinois) scored 22 points with 14 rebounds and Desmond Holloway scored 27 points with 11 rebounds. Antwon Harris (6'3''-G, college: Winthrop) had 21 points and 15 rebounds and Herman Favors (5'9''-G-84, college: Georgia St.) scored 18 points with 10 assists. Justin Tubbs (6'3''-G-87, college: E.Tenn.St.) may not have had his double-double tonight, but he scored 27 points and ended with 9 rebounds. Fans quickly jumped to their feet and cheered each time he got the ball and went up for the dunk. 'My favorite play was Shelton's over the head pass to Justin for the dunk', stated Devan Bawinkel, 'that's teamwork and that was an amazing crowd pleaser'.

'The best part of the game was the team coming out and doing exactly what I told them to do, especially as rookies', 'these guys are just starting their professional career with only Herman having some professional experience', stated Coach Keathley. 'Run, run, run, up and down the floor and execute'. 'I told them if they just buy in to the plan we're going to score and win games.' 'Tonight was one of them'.

Brad and Leah Grenoble, owners of the team were hoping to see a lot of the community show up to support their athletes. 'We have so many friends in the area, so we knew we would have fans'. 'But then you realize how special this can be when you see faces you haven't seen before or people you haven't seen since third grade'. 'We had several people say they don't even like basketball but loved the family entertainment this brought and will be back'. 'A big thank you goes out to Wahl Clipper of Sterling, IL for sponsoring the event, Sterling Public Schools and staff and mostly, to the Predators friends and family for making this a success'.

The Sauk Valley Predators continue their 2012 season tomorrow as they travel to Indiana to meet the Diesels on their home court. Individual and season tickets can be purchased online at You can also view the other Predator players and full schedule.

The Predators are part of the Premier Basketball League's Central Division along with the following teams; Chicago Muscle, Northwest Indiana Stars, Central Illinois Drive, Indiana Diesels and the St. Louis Phoenix. The PBL's Eastern Division includes the Lake Michigan Admiralsls, Charleston Gunners, Scranton Wilkes-Barre Steamers, Dayton Air Strikers and the Rochester RazorSharks. For more information please visit
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Old 14-01-2012, 06:41 AM   #429

A more fuller article regarding the top Canadian contingent in NBL Canada at that point from the Halifax Chronicle-Herald.

Also from Halifax Chronicle-Herald is its resident basketball columnist Chris Cochrane. I always enjoy what he writes regarding his thoughts on the state of Canadian basketball--be it the NBL or CIS, particularly the hometown Rainmen. I very much agree with everything he says about the new NBL Canada at the halfway mark. Though there are challenges at the start of any new basketball league and the low success reputation that minor league basketball has, guys like Andre Levingston, Ian McCarthy, Vito Frijia, Vincent Bernier, and now new commissioner John Kennedy used their vision astutely in many aspects and will hopefully get as basketball in Canada gains prominence. It's like he's giving it a B overall from my guessing.

If there was any further evidence that Rogers Communications will eventually get the TV rights of NBL Canada, Rogers teams up with the Oshawa Power as they help improve the fan experience at the General Motors Centre with the team floundering right now and support in the Power's community involements.
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:16 PM   #430

Been a while I last did NBL Canada, the ABA, and the PBL. Hope to fully get back into this more soon.

Michael Ray Richardson, currently coaching one of the premier NBL Canada teams in the form of the London Lightning, really isn't disconnected from the NBA and David Stern even when issued with a lifetime ban for drug use back in the 1980s.

But verbal abuse got the best of Richardson in a recent road win to the Halifax Rainmen and a one-game suspension

Controversy abounds for the NBL Canada refs over questionable calls from the Halifax Rainmen-Moncton Miracles game, soemthing the league and its founding teams wanted to avoid from.

In the Premier Basketball League, at four games have been played since the New Year's Eve start in Rochester with the RazorSharks winning over the Steamers. The only winless team in the league happens my local pro team here, the St. Louis Phoenix. And a month into the season, the PBL dropped the NW Indiana Stars and the Charleston Gunners for failing to adhere to the league's minimum standards.

Presently, Rochester and the Central Illinois Drive are tops in their divisions with the RazorSharks unbeaten.
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Old 17-02-2012, 12:51 PM   #431

Whenever I talk about the ABA, it's almost always a bad or haphazard or dysfunctional situation. Due to my crazy work schedule and what-not, I can't get to a lot of stuff for right now this month. But I will mention one significant aspect that occurred in the league in the last two weeks.

The Jacksonville Giants, one of the best teams in that league right now, scored what is widely believed to be the most points scored ever for a pro basketball team in a game. In front of 2500 fans at the Jacksonville Veterans Menorial Arena, the Giants defeated the Columbus Riverballers 211-84, breaking their own record of 206 last year. Not a misprint. At all. Needless to say, no resistence was ever present for the Riverballers. This even captured the attention of Sports Illustrated in a little blurb. We all know the ABA is not the best level of basketball talent assembled in minor league basketball, but this is more positive, right?

Back at NBL Canada, fans can vote for the first ever 2012 NBL Canada All Star Game during its All-Star Weekend in Halifax, the home of the Rainmen, on March 31-April 1 beginning today with an array of players from the first seven teams in the league. There's also, like with the NHL All-Star Game, a fantasy draft twist of sorts in the mix.

Find out more here (including presence All-Star requirements for Canadians in the league and that every market is repped):

In the playoff chase right now, the London Lightning are still the class of the league right from the start and likely earned themselves the top seed in the 2012 NBL Canada Playoffs. Quebec City impressed under Rob Spon's strong leadership at second. Halifax has been a bit up and down this season, but the Rainmen are likely to hold down a playoff spot at third despite struggling in their last stretch of their games. And Saint John managing to squeak in for the final semifinal seed as it stands. The Oshawa Power have a shot to take it from the Mill Rats after turning things around. However the team closest to Toronto is but mathematically out at 12-19 even with going four wins out of the last five and need some unlikely help. Assuming Saint John and Oshawa tie for the record at the end, the Mill Rats gets the tiebreaker as it stands with 2-1, which could change later. Summerside and Moncton are eliminated.
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Old 24-02-2012, 08:24 AM   #432

All right, so the Jacksonville Giants' 211 points might not necessarily suggest better talent quality about the ABA overall right now, but it is better than discussing fly-by night teams, which by now gets taken for granted.

In the Premier Basketball League, the Central Illinois Drive is running away as the only undefeated team in the league by going 11-0. Clearly there is a passion and cred in terms of the franchise's operation, especially with former Indiana star A.J. Guyton running the show as head coach. To be honest, it seems as though only the Drive, Sauk Valley Predators, and long-successful Rochester RazorSharks are the most financially solvent teams in the PBL. With the NW Indiana Stars and the Charleston Gunners gone, I doubt seriously any of the other teams have an abundance of cash either with little in the way of fans, stats, or sponsors. Why weren't those two received a financial lifeline from the league? We may never know. Sometimes, this league acts worse now than they did in years past. And the Chicago Muscle are still allowed to exist? Shows how messed up things have gotten (again).

All this points to a strong lack of due dilligence--and that hurts minor league sports, but particularly minor league basketball as it still works itself. I hate to say this again, but it seems the PBL is emulating what those teams were supposed to get away from in the ABA and hated. Guess better to eliminate the teams early before the problems got bigger, and I think some league officials looked at them and knew they weren't going to last during the full course of the season. Maybe those teams that survive into the postseason will move on afterwards. Still, the league has managed to alienate teams like Halifax, Quebec City, Vermont, Lawton-Ft. Sill, Wilmington, and Manchester/Saint John who were boons to the poor league's sorely-needed cred.

That's one thing Joe Newman has over Sev Hrynak, would you believe: more haphazard teams for entry every year and still rakes in the cash while the latter swims in the red. Maybe the PBL takes itself more seriously than the ABA, but the execution and due diligence are other matters.
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Old 03-03-2012, 08:31 AM   #433

Halifax Rainmen might get its own provincial rival in the form of Sydney, Nova Scotia in the near future. Back in the mid-90s, you may recall, the original NBL in Canada had two teams in Nova Scotia: the Halifax Windjammers (originally from the WBL) and the Cape Breton Breakers. Recall the commercial I uploaded from You Tube. But the original Canadian NBL collapsed around those teams. Cape Breton Capers in the AUS has been a powerhouse in recent times, so that helps.

This confirms that NBL Canada is very interested in the Canadian capital of Ottawa after the immense success of Carleton and Ottawa in both men's and women's programs and of the strong grassroots the sport enjoys. Knew the league was going to do this.

London Lightning will get its C$1.5 million own practice facility and offices out of former United Church. When you have an owner like Vito Frijila, who has such a passion for basketball while being a successful businessman, you just got to thank him for this. A sign like says "Yes, I deeply believe in NBL Canada! and my Lightning"
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Old 07-03-2012, 01:46 PM   #434

NBL Canada's inuagural playoffs start tonight. Your four teams for the first ever league playoffs are:

#1 London Lightning vs. #4 Saint John Mill Rats
Game 1 @ Saint John (Harbour Station) Tuesday
Game 2 @ John Labatt Centre (London) Friday
Game 3 @ John Labatt Centre (London) Sunday

London should win this series 2-1 if not a sweep

#2 Halifax Rainmen vs. #3 Quebec City Kebs

Game 1 @ Quebec City (PEPS) Sunday
Game 2 @ Halifax (Halifax Metro Centre) Thursday
Game 3 @ Halifax (Halifax Metro Centre) Friday

More evenly matched than the other series. This can go either way. Seems as though Halifax has the momentum here coming in, but the length of the series could lead to the Kebs' favor. Halifax by same series result 2-1.

UPDATE: London wins first ever NBL Canada playoff game 106-105 tonight
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Old 13-03-2012, 09:33 AM   #435

London Lightning sweep away the Saint John Mill Rats at the John Labatt Centre to head into the 2012 NBL Canada Finals 87-82 in the first NBL Canada semis. They await the winner of the Halifax-Quebec City semifinal series.

Halifax Rainmen takes Game 1 96-87 at Quebec City's Laval University PEPS in the second semifinal before heading home to the Halifax Metro Civic Centre.

You may think Jacksonville Giants with their 211 points in that recent game, would sit atop the ABA. You'd guessed wrong. They're sixth in the power rankings. Colorado Kings and South Carolina Warriors are currently tied for first followed by the San Diego Sol, Chicago Steam, and the Arizona Scorpions.

Central Illinois Drive lost their first game of the 2012 PBL season to Sauk Valley 88-87 Saturday. Rochester RazorSharks are also very good by the PBL's standards. In fact, its only losses came from teams who are no longer in the league--NW Indiana and Charleston. Both are 15-1.
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Old 21-03-2012, 09:57 AM   #436

Halifax Rainmen escape the Quebec City Kebs in all three games to have a best-of-five date with the favored London Lightning in the first-ever NBL Canada Finals.

Quebec City managed to steal a game against the Rainmen at the Halifax Metro Centre, fresh after hosting the AUS men's basketball tournament and the 2012 CIS Final 8 Nationals, to force a third and final one in Halifax 112-109 with Royce Parran and Ralphy Holmes combining for 70 points for the Kebs.

Halifax moves into the NBL Canada Finals in Game 3 at home with their 106-95. Shame about the home attendance.

As it presently stands in the first ever NBL Canada Finals, the Lightning show why they're the best team in NBL Canada's first season throughout. They currently have a 2-0 series lead over the Rainmen prevailing with a 86-83 home win where they have to find a way to win on Sunday with London's Shamari Spears striking down a jumper with Taliek Brown's foul drawn at 10.3 seconds and an ugly and foul 113-96 home win to go into Halifax and clinch it there Wednesday night with a championship banner. With that, Halifax have to summon everything they got, intensity and all, for the home fans if for the final time. Michael Ray Richardson would like to see more rebounding, inside defense, and three-point line defending for that.
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Old 23-03-2012, 04:24 AM   #437

In front of their home fans totaling at 3993 in the Halifax Metro Civic Centre, the fans witness an electrifying comeback by their hometown Halifax Rainmen in the final 5 minutes during their must-win Game 3 in the 2012 NBL Canada Finals against the London Lightning last. The Rainmen won 95-93 with a jumper by bum-ankled 5-9 guard Chris Hagan with 1.8 seconds left to prevent a Lightning series sweep and keep the Rainmen's season alive forcing a Game 4 tonight also in Halifax. Lightning coach Michael Ray Richardson lividly blamed the Lightning's demise on 25 turnovers "gifting" the victory to Halifax despite Tim Ellis, Gabe Freeman, and Eddie Smith all having double figures in points with the first two having double doubles. Hagan produced all of his team-high 16 points in the second half with four assists and two steals.

Regardless of what happens tonight if Halifax forces a return to London with the Lightning or if the series ends in Halifax with London winning, the Rainmen's home season ends there tonight.

London vows not to let what happened last night re-occur:

Interesting in the fact that Nike is not really well-known for supplying atheltic apparel for minor league sports teams. So when Nike decides to do so for the PBL's Rochester RazorSharks, it must be because it has proved itself as a solvent or some in the personnel had Nike connections. Plus, Rochester has named a new co-owner and COO in Adam House.

Just won their 14th straight over the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Steamers

Central Illinois Drive wrap up their regular season home schedule this weekend with Friday and Saturday games against the hapless St. Louis Phoenix and Indiana Diesels

ABA ball, already in their playoff mode, is now heading into the weekend with eight teams hoping to go to St. Petersburg, Florida for the Final Four Basketball Championship on April 9-15. The eight teams are the Connecticut TopBallerz, San Diego Sol, Jacksonville Giants, Chicago Steam, Bay Area Matrix, South Carolina Warriors, North Dallas Vandals, and the Conway Cyclones. Next week, fuller ABA details will appear.
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Old 24-03-2012, 04:22 AM   #438

Halifax is taking the London Lightning back to London for the final game of the 2012 NBL Canada Playoffs on Sunday for all the marbles with London's hopes of a "White Out" at the John Labatt Centre.
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Old 28-03-2012, 12:14 PM   #439

That was quite a first-ever NBL Canada Finals. The series went all the way to the limit back to London. I guess it's only fitting that the best team in the new NBL Canada all season long got to hoist the trophy in front of their fans. Yes, I'm talking about the London Lightning led by head coach Michael Ray Richardson.

Game 5 was more like a blowout with a 116-92 win over the Halifax Rainmen as the Lightning charmed their way to a very hockey-minded community that was ready to party.

Attendance at the John Labatt Centre totaled to well over 5000 to see history made with the first NBL Canada champions crowned. The trophy, presented by Saint John president Ian McCarthy because NBL Canada commish John Kennedy was out of town due to personal issues, could resemble like a cousin to the CIS' W.P. McGee Trophy. Everything was very professionally run as the NBL Canada founders learned their lessons from being in American based minor pro basketball leagues. No doubt London is a model franchise.

Fan camera Lightning celebrations on YouTube:

CTV News London report the celebration:

This past Saturday afternoon I met a man and his two sons who hail from London at my retail work and all were impressed with me knowing, among other things, about the Lightning and NBL Canada but also CIS basketball!

Those in the London area can relive the championship game today on Rogers TV, Cable 13, the TV carrier of the London Lightning!

But there are those who say Game 3 of the 2012 NBL Canada Finals in Halifax was the best game of the season to keep the Rainmen's hopes alive. The final minute of play could justify that distinction. Halifax's coach Pep Claros gets all the fans worked up. And that Chris Hagan game-winning shot. All the footage was live from the Maritimes' premier sports channel EastLink TV.

Season's not over! Oh no! There's one final order of NBL Canada before it's officially over. There's that matter of the 2012 NBL All-Star Weekend in Halifax. The TV promo for inuagural NBL Canada All-Star Weekend:

April is the month for the 2012 PBL Playoffs with the top four teams in the league facing for the title. It all begins April 5-6 in a best of three series with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre hosting Central Illinois for Game 1 for the first game and then on the following one Sauk Valley hopes to dethrone the reigning PBL champs Rochester in their series at the Predators home.
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Old 05-04-2012, 04:39 AM   #440

Was it just indifference, complacency, lack of effort, or taking it easy that the RazorSharks lost to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Steamers in the final game of the regular season for both team before going to the PBL Playoffs?|text|Sports

Central Illinois Drive get ready for its playoff drive tomorrow night versus the said Steamers

We got our ABA Final Four completely set with the Jacksonville Giants being the last part of the puzzle for that next week (April 9th to be precise) in St. Petersburg. The Giants beat the Chicago Steam 102-99 on the road. The Steam never lost at home. The Giants will face the South Carolina Warriors. In the other ABA semifinal game in St. Petersburg, the North Dallas Vandals take on the San Diego Sol.

St. Petersburg is also the home of this year's ABA All-Star Game to played at Eckerd College and hosted by the Tampa Bay Rain. The Rain plans to play their home games there next season.
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Old 12-04-2012, 06:35 AM   #441

This ABA Final Four going on in St. Petersburg is a double-elimination series. The San Diego Sol managed to win with a chance into the ABA Championship Series (best-of-three there) after losing to the Jacksonville Giants 112-93 in the first game with a 80-70 victory over the North Dallas Vandals, thereby eliminating the Vandals. The Vandals lost their first game to the South Carolina Warriors 105-86. The Warriors stay perfect at 28-0 for now, which was placed on the line as they faced the Giants last night.

Jacksonville loses to South Carolina 126-119. But they're still alive. The Giants face San Diego tomorrow for a spot in the ABA Championship Series in a double elimination match. The Warriors are now 29-0.

In the Premier Basketball League, we got ourselves the PBL Championship Finals. Before that, however, let's see how we got this point. We had our four PBL teams battling it out with the Central Illinois Drive, Rochester RazorSharks, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Steamers, and the Sauk Valley Predators involved.

Former Illinois State player Anthony Slack led the Drive in a game 1 victory over the Steamers. Yet, it was a total team effort in Bloomington's US Cellular Coliseum 132-103.

Anthony Slack plans to go into coaching after the Drive's season is over

Then Central Illinois swept away the Steamers

Rochester takes of business with the Predators after being so eager to have the playoffs to start after playing only one game in the last 20 days at that point with a sweep on their own.|text|Sports

So to nobody's surprise to anyone who follows this league at all, we got the best teams in the PBL all season long facing off for the title that will start on Thursday in Rochester. The next two games are held in Bloomington on Saturday and Sunday (if necessary). Size matchups could be a major factor with the RazorSharks having five player over 6'5" while the Drive have four.

London Lightning's owner Vito Frijia, a passionate lover lover of basketball and well-connected to the London business community, can't believe just how blessed he is with his baby, building a strong following, and the immediate success capturing the first NBL Canada championship for the city...and breaking even in their first season of existence!

NBL Canada has been a resounding success in its first season, in both terms of play and organization that climaxed with a great first NBL Canada Finals between London and Halifax. No embarassing public stumbles during the course of the season like franchises folding, games cancelled, or players and staff missing paychecks or bounced ones. Canadian players were stepping to be successful. The league's smallest market in Summerside, Prince Edward Island filled up the Credit Union Place for Storm games. Halifax led the league in attendance. While Oshawa and Quebec City struggled at the gate, they stayed the course. With interest growing, prospective owners of franchises, mostly from Ontario, are lining up to buy a piece of the action. Investors in Kingston, Sydney, Ottawa, Hamilton, Mississauga, Montreal, Belleville, Fredericton, Sherbrooke, and Windsor aim for expansion teams after falling in love with such a solid product in Game 5. There is a possibility that, with its attendance struggles, the Quebec City Kebs may be sold or moved. If moved out of Quebec, that would not be good for the league for it needs a Quebec representative for the sport to grow there and in Canada as a whole. Not to mention travels costs involved could go up. Hey, I agree with what Chris Cochrane from the Halifax Chronicle-Herald would advise NBL Canada to do: stay the course, retain and grow your sponsorships, retain your salary cap and Canadian player requirement, encourage teams to grow local sponsorships and increase ties to the local community, nab a national TV deal, and be very careful and dilligent in your expansion applications (especially west of Ontario, hold off for at least two years).
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Old 26-04-2012, 12:35 PM   #442

Hamilton, Ontario, the biggest city near Toronto and famously known as "Canada's Pittsburgh", might land the NBL Canada if its prospective owners can operate a team effectively to soothe the skepticism and caution stemming from past blunders with minor pro basketball from the WBL and ABA. Basketball participation is high among the young and apparently their parents enjoy too. But is the Copps Coliseum too enormous for it? Maybe though a curtain can be used for the upper level of seats. Brampton might be an option if things don't work out if amatuer success can't convert to pro success.

We got a third franchise champion in the PBL's brief history. The Central Illinois Drive won the championship in its first season of existence by sweeping the Rochester RazorSharks in four games. More to come next week.
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Old 02-05-2012, 04:34 AM   #443

Unfortunately, the news regarding NBL Canada's development wasn't all positive: its first-ever commissioner John Kennedy resigned due to a family emergency. He was only in the job for a few months. Too bad he couldn't strike a national TV deal for the league.

Jacksonville Giants win the 2011-12 ABA Championship in St. Petersburg defeating the South Carolina Warriors in the second game 100-91 in a best of three series.

A parade will be held in their honor Thursday
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:35 AM   #444

Really interesting that NBL Canada is eyeing expansion on border Ontario cities Windsor and St. Catherines for next season. I guess both cities can call for the wellspring of basketball in Detroit and Buffalo, more so in the former. Both have facilities that are just right for the league. In the case of St Catherines, NBL Canada can't be any worse than what that city dealt with the ABA in the form of the Niagara DareDevils. Windsor's prospective NBL Canada investors out of Detroit remain a mystery to many in the know.

Summerside Storm staying put at the Credit Union Place instead of heading to provincial capital Charlottetown. May have lost money in the first year but built up a nice local following.
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Old 22-05-2012, 04:34 AM   #445

Certainly appears that whenever the first wave of NBL Canada expansion occurs as the deadline nears, it will be exclusively an Ontario flavor--Kingston, Kitchener, Windsor, Waterloo, Ottawa, Mississauga, and St. Catherines. Prospective ownership in these cities are the only ones who have expressed strong interest in joining. Andre Levingston and Ian McCarthy kicked the tires with Hamilton and Sydney, but nothing substansial came out those in the form of strong ownership groups. No designated number of teams for entry has been announced, but Levingston doesn't care; all he's concerned with is solid ownership from the start. The following Halifax Chronicle-Herald article also notes it doesn't look good for Quebec City to return next season though efforts are attempted to help the Kebs.
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Old 05-06-2012, 08:22 AM   #446

Back to the ABA.

Never ceases to amaze me that the league will keep putting franchises in cities like Las egas (more on that later), Chicago, Richmond, and Tampa Bay.

Last time Long Beach was there in the ABA. It had the Jam that featured colo(u)rful (an understatment, yes) Dennis Rodman, had some Japanese investors, and won a the ABA title in 2002 just as the league truly became the haphazard butt of jokes before moving up to the NBDL and up the coast to Bakersfield. Now it's back. Tony Farmer and Giovanni Pierce are the masterminds of the new Long Beach Rockets. Both have credibility in their respective basketball circles. Hope they'll cultivate a very-well organized winner.

ABA returns to Mississippi with the Jackson Showboats and hires former NFL WR Brenden Marion as its strength and condition coach.

Over 90 teams were scheduled to play this just-completed 2011-12 ABA season. These were the franchises:

Atlantic East
Athens Razors
Jacksonville Giants
Gulf Coast Flash
Atlanta Experience
Heartland Heat
Atlanta Aliens
Georgia Gwizzlies
East Point Jaguars
Columbus Riverballers
Panama City Dream

California Northwest
Central Valley Titans
Modesto Hawks
NorCal Bears
Chico Rage

California South
Arizona Scorpions
San Diego Sol
San Diego Surf
Los Angeles Slam
Riverside Rainmakers
Las Vegas Aces
SoCal Swish
Shizuoka Gymrats

Lynchburg Legends
Richmond Elite
NoVA Wonders
Portsmouth Cavaliers
West Virginia Blazers

Great Lakes
Chicago Steam
Cleveland Hotcards
Milwaukee Blast
Porter County Punishers

South Carolina Warriors
Carolina Cougars
Carolina Cheetahs
East Carolina Trojans
Nashville Soul
Tennessee Mad Hatters
Fayetteville Flight
Carolina Jaguars
Clarksville Cavaliers

Lima Explosion
Detroit Hoops
Michigan Monarchs
Greencastle Golden Knights
Indianapolis Drive
Lansing Law
Gem City Hall O'Famers

Connecticut Topballerz
Jersey Express
Staten Island Vipers
NYC Thunder
New York Charters

Pacific North
Bay Area Matrix
Richmond Rockets
San Francisco Rumble
Port City Pirates
East Bay Pit Bulls
Sacramento Heatwave

Pacific Northwest
Calgary Crush
Alaska Quake
Seattle Mountaineers
Washington Rampage

Rocky Mountain
Colorado Kings
Colorado Cougars
Colorado Springs Crusaders
Wyoming Roughnecks

South Central
Little Rock Lightning
Bluff City Reign
Conway Cyclones
NEA Swag
Missouri Rhythm

North Dallas Vandals
Texas Fuel
West Texas Whirlwinds
Okahoma Stallions
Houston Red Storm
Dallas Impact
North Texas Fresh

Travel Teams
Houston Experience
Rocky Mountain Stampede
Team Haiti
Applachian Rapids
Florida Makos
Chicago Fury

Listed-Never Played
Mobile Bay Hurricanes
Delta Storm
Syracuse Shockwave
Orlando Kings
Savannah Storm
California Sea Kings
Norfolk Sharks
Seven City Knights

Numerous teams played only a few games before ending their seasons or franchise lives. Some other teams are in the standings but didn't even play a game. However, much of those teams had no interest in playing this season or disappeared before the season began like the East Kentucky Energy and the Chi-Town Bulldogs did. The Midwest Flames, as mentioned here set to play in mid-Illinois, folded too. Tampa Bay Rain and the Greencastle Knights were supposed to play this season, while Greencastle did a little bit, both decided to come in next season as expansion teams.
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Old 08-06-2012, 05:16 AM   #447

With all of the strong potential for expansion teams looming (more on that later) and some free agency coming to the way of NBL Canada clubs, all seven NBL Canada teams have released their respective lists of prospected teams.

NBL Canada first-ever champs London Lightning protect league's first MVP Gabe Freeman, Tim Ellis, Shemari Spears, DeAnthony Bowman, and Eddie Smith

Halifax Rainmen keeps their starting backcourt intact with Taliek Brown, Joey Haywood and Chris Hagan with forwards Tyrone Levett and Darnell Hugee.

Oshawa Power keeps the rights to shooting guard/small forward Brandon Robinson, power forward Omari Johnson, small forward (and first-ever NBL Canada draft pick) Morgan Lewis, forward Jushay Rocket and guard/forward Marcus Johnson with a focus on keeping the productive frontcourt. Interestingly, their two-minimum Canadian players Tut Rauch and Poppa Oppong were left exposed to free agency.

Summerside Storm protects All-NBL Canada in something with Chris Cayole, Mike Williams, Al Stewart, Eric Gilchrese, and Louie McCroskey.

League list showing who the Saint John Mill Rats, Moncton Miracles, and the Quebec City Kebs each protected in their five players.

Kitchener, Ontario hopes to get into the NBL Canada family next season. A medium-sized city that aspires to emulate what London accomplished if granted a franchise like community-wide support and a passion for basketball like prospective owner Rob Vendetti has. Could he be the next Vito Frijia?

Facebook page devoted to bringing NBL Canada to Kingston, Ontario's K-Rock Centre

Let's look at the overall NBL Canada expansion derby that we got going on. I think it's very smart, with the incredible success in its first season (rare for any sports league and any typical first-year business), it would be wise for the league to stay the course and don't overexpand. Some express concern that Canadians are into it because this is the first time a big-time basketball nationwide Canadian league is in existence. Like it's a shiny, brand spanking new toy. The real benchmark for sustained quality is the third season and see if NBL Canada has staying power. I think certainly think, if continued to be operated right, this league will continue to be strong and interest remain genuine. Pro basketball in Canada, outside of the Toronto Raptors and the Vancouver Grizzlies, have never been as accessible since the demise of the WBL and later the original Canadian NBL in the mid-90s. Very smart of the league to place franchises in those medium-sized cities where, unlike Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, it won't get lost by the public and the media and won't be as publicly embraced with more distractions and keep it out east for now. Furthermore, NBL Canada needs to heed the lessons of the ABL, PBL, NBDL, NASL, and other various minor level pro sport leagues (like the notorious Roller Hockey International in its second season) on the dangers of overexpanding, leading to contraction, rising operation costs, and ultimately declining faith in the overall product. I seriously think Canadians are more than ready to have some pro basketball during the winter-spring in those small cities other than having junior ice hockey filling dates at the arenas. The league can gradually expand and still make sure everything within it with its teams are stable at the foundation level.

A nice idea I like that is bandided about in reaction to Ray Bana's NBL expansion article at Raptors HQ is having no more than three teams for the next two seasons. The first one to even out the field while have the next two enter in the 2013-14 season. That way, the franchises in both cities would have ample time and media coverage to introduce themselves into the communities they'll be in to get the public interested about them when the basketball finally gets tipped. Windsor's Detroit-based ownership is too mysterious, so I'm ruling them out, even if they may plan on tapping into the deep Detroit talent. St. Catherines might not be ready as of yet. Hamilton got burned with past minor pro basketball teams even with a strong grassroots basketball culture there. So that remains my picks for the three: Ottawa (can't ignore the immense success of Carleton/Ottawa, proximity with Quebec, Canadian capital, CIS Final 8 and Capital Hoops Classic, and the over grassroots in both boys and girls) for hopefully the first season with Kingston (hoped to be in the first season but didn't due to arena lease issues, strong basketball love) and Kitchener (ditto) for 2013

As for the concerns about dilution of talent, I don't think there's going to be a problem in that, to be honest. Drop off of talent won't be too much of a concern. Every year, US basketball talent comes out of college and many head overseas or in the minor pro leagues, some stay longer and polish their game further and already-current pro players. This is also true with the CIS and CCAA talent up in Canada. And are hungry to play and earn some experience in a pro league. Surely, the league would like to attract some of the best players not in the NBA and had some NBA experience with names many haven't heard of in all counts. More of an issue is whether their games are to be a proper fit to the NBL Canada coaches' philsophies on those new teams.

As for western expansion, it would be nice to have an 8-team league based there, possibly stretching from Victoria to maybe Thunder Bay, Ontario, to build a following and make it accessible for pro basketball there. However, unlike out east, western Canada isn't as population-clustered and would, like with helped brought down the demise of just about any Canadian pro sports league, bring down the league with travel expenses. Teams aren't at the stage where they can afford to travel that far. Over to Alberta to BC would be too much speading to travel and stay afloat; even the western teams would face fianancial challenges getting eastward for games. What would those 8 teams be? Victoria, Vancouver, Brandon, Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay with Prince George, British Columbia on the outside due to its remoteness.

RUMOUR: Are the Halifax Rainmen going to be sold to EastLink TV?
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Last edited by Durbansandshark; 08-06-2012 at 05:35 AM.
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Old 22-06-2012, 11:34 AM   #448

My assumptions about Windsor were wrong. Certainly appears that the Canadian border city in Ontario directly across Detroit will become the eighth NBL Canada city for next season when approved next week in Toronto. Ownership's lease with the WFCU Centre is almost finalized.

NBL Canada gets a little mention from Dime magazine. Hope SLAM does the same, actually more, on the print end.
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Last edited by Durbansandshark; 22-06-2012 at 11:38 AM.
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Old 29-06-2012, 11:08 AM   #449

NBL Canada officially adds Windsor, Ontario to the league. Perhaps Issac Kuon, a former Windsor Lancer star who couldn't stick with London and Oshawa, can be the hometown pro star if he goes there. In theory, we can see them tap into the Detroit basketball depth and serve as a cheaper alternative to the Pistons. Furthermore, this new Windsor NBL Canada team can get a chance during the season to honor the Windsor Lancers women's basketball team as one way to be a part of the very popular local basketball community.

Mississauga, Ontario's prospective ownership with its Hershey Centre as a place to play--and actually closer to Toronto than Oshawa is to it, was granted more time to get everything together as it tidied up its application. But I think time ran out on them at this point. St. Catherines' group was reluctantly concerned over funding to upgrade its aging, 74-year old Jack Gatecliff Arena the city has and ultimately thought it wasn't feasible in the early years. But it's likely the small border city will return when the city's new 5000-seat arena opens in 2014. Other candidates like Kitchener and Ottawa (surprisingly IMO) turned out to lack the financial means for long-term sustainability in the eyes of Andre Levingston.
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Old 14-07-2012, 07:14 AM   #450

Mates, I present to you the brand new Windsor Express from NBL Canada (second logo).

At the NBL Canada Owners Meeting in Toronto, several things were approved:

--Number of Regular Season games increased to 40 games
--Regular Season will start November 1, 2012
--Three minimum Canadian Players on Team Rosters
--Two Divisions (Central: Laval, London, Oshawa, and Windsor & Atlantic: Halifax, Moncton, Saint John, and Summerside)
--Expanded Playoff Format with five qualifying teams; 1st Round (Best of 3), Semifinals & Finals (Best of 5)

Sound like the team with the best overall record gets the bye.
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