Lots of news about the Kingston team. First was a funny thing from Saturday night. I work midnights and have Thursday/Fridays off. Which means I don’t read Saturday’s Whig Standard till Sunday usually.
I first thought I saw something that hadn’t made news yet. While downtown on Saturday night who do I see walk by of all people? Halifax Rainman owner and current president of the League, Andre Levingston. Since I had watched that CBC interview I linked to in a previous post I recognized him quickly.
If he’s in town things must be going well. Keep in mind I hadn’t read the Whig so in my head was ‘maybe no one else knows about this. If I had a scoop like that it would be ironic with my NBL blog posts’. Well, then I found out him being in town along with Sam Mitchell and Steven Conville [Kingston’s confirmed owner] was on the front page of the newspaper….. there goes my scoop. Oh well. Can’t win them all. However seeing him walk by is still quite funny considering everything. Odds of our paths crossing at the exact same time on a Saturday night in Kingston must be pretty low.
2 stories in the Whig last week. Steven Conville, who I mentioned before has been revealed as the Kingston owner. Quotes from last week’s story by Mike Koreen ‘Prospective basketball team owner comes this way’
“It’s a great bunch of people up in Kingston and I’ve really enjoyed talking to them. We’re making tremendous progress. The guys at the KRock Centre have been really good to us as far as coming to an understanding and the mayor has been exceptional.”
Conville originally planned to be an adviser for a potential ownership group, but now says he’ll be the main owner. He said he is working with several unpaid consultants.
“I wouldn’t say there are stumbling blocks,” Conville said. “Simply, the league is new, I am new, the mayor is new, the building is new, it’s just all of us coming together in a short period of time.”
“I think Kingston provides the best opportunity (for a new owner),” he said. “It’s a beautiful town and (the K-Rock Centre) is a beautiful facility. … It’s been a pleasure working with the people there.”
Then on Saturday on the front page was ‘Pro basketball talks become more serious’ by Jake Edmiston. Some excerpts from that.
On this particular visit, Conville had former Toronto Raptors coach Sam Mitchell in tow. “He’s helping me show that I’m serious about my commitment to Kingston,” Conville said.
League president Andre Levingston also accompanied Conville to meetings with Mayor Mark Gerretsen and K-Rock Centre general manager Ken Noakes.
“We need to work out a lease that reflects the amount of revenue of a start-up pro basketball team in Canada,” Conville said, adding that he expects attendances between 1,000 and 2,000 fans per game in the inaugural season that’s set to start in October.
If Conville’s proposal is approved by council in the coming weeks, he said he’ll spend the rest of the summer launching an awareness campaign. He’ll need to have all details finalized by June 30, when the league plans to announce the final roster of teams.
“If council and I can get this approval in a timely fashion, I really look forward to having a community contest to name the team,” he said.
As I mentioned in a previous post Conville is an investmen adviser in Toronto who works with pro athletes and entertainers. Also in the article he said that hopefully he can leverage some of those relationships to help with the team.
In my earlier research I found something you wouldn’t see with other owners in Kingston. A picture of him with Ron Artest at a party. Article was in the Wall Street Journal of all places. From March of 2010, “Why Pro Athletes Love Toronto”.
Trying to imagine other local owners being in a photo with Artest, nope. Since it’s the NBA Finals I have to have Ron-Ron’s speech after winning in Game 7 last year. I saw this live on TV. Who else thanks their psychiatrist and plugs a CD after winning?
Meanwhile out east, Fredericton is talking about joining in 2012. As I had surmised earlier that any second team in New Brunswick would not be until 2012. Moncton was another possibility for another franchise in NB. With a team in Saint John probably best for them to get all the ducks in a row for next season.
From Bill Hunt at the Daily Gleaner in Frederiction a story on the weekend ‘New league Gauging interest in Fredericton’. A paper we used to get when I lived in Oromocto/CFB Gagetown. Small world.
New league Gauging interest in Fredericton
Kelly Lamrock is “bullish” on the idea of a Fredericton franchise in the soon-to-be-launched National Basketball League of Canada. He’s looking for some investors who share his vision.
Lamrock, the former Liberal MLA and provincial cabinet minister, says there are a group of 10 investors on board now and “we’re looking to double the size of that group,” with the idea of bringing minor professional basketball to the provincial capital in time for the 2012 season.
Still some chatting about Moncton trying to get in for this season. A group of Japanese and American investors are looking whether to apply for a franchise. An investors meeting in Tokyo is looking at Kitchener or Moncton. Which at first does sound like out of left field. What connection would New Brunswick and Japan have? From the Telegraph Journal’s Randy O’Donnell ‘Moncton’s Japanese pro hoops connection’
Among those attending will be Masaki Hitosugi, the businessman instrumental in a Japanese all-star team playing an exhibition contest in Saint John April 24.
The game, featuring the Saint John Mill Rats and Japanese pro league players, raised money for tsunami relief in the Sendai region.
It was during that weekend that initial discussion occurred between Hitosugi, Miller and representatives of the NBL’s founding franchises.
Didn’t think I’d be talking about Tokyo and the NBL but there you have it. Now a local person in Moncton said he’s more optimistic for a 2012-13 start for them. I’d agree with that. Seeing as here in Kingston we just saw more tangible evidence with the owner and NBL president in town. If they are discussing it in Tokyo right now I’m not sure there is enough time to start before the 2011 season. Now, on their side of starting quickly is the established franchise in Saint John. Much easier when a successful team is less than 2 hours away.
From the NBL Canada twitter account they said the owner’s meeting is shortly after June 15th. Details will be finalized and the schedule made. That Moncton article speculated about a 30 game regular season starting in November with pre-season in October. With playoffs wrapping up in March. Again that could be true, or not.