Minus the upcoming world cup, right now is normally called ‘the worst time in sports:” hockey, basketball and football are done and baseball hasn’t hit the fever pitch yet. But come next year, a new Canadian Professional Basketball League is looking to take advantage of that sports void and get Hamiltonians hooked on.
The name of city’s new basketball team was revealed: The Hamilton Honey Badgers.
Look up ‘honey badger’ online and you’ll quickly learn it’s anything but sweet.
They’re fearless and persistent. Traits the people behind newly formed Canadian Elite Basketball League must embody to make this project work.
Honey Badger President John Lashway went through this before when he helped bring the Raptors to Toronto. Luckily, 23-years later, the Canadian basketball landscape has changed.
“When we first game to Toronto in 1995 you didn’t see basketball hoops up, people weren’t playing. Now there’s an appetite for basketball and it’s the second fastest growing sports in Canada and people can’t get enough of it.”
Former General Manager of the Toronto Raptors, Glen Grunwald says, “I never foresaw it but it’s the evolution of basketball that’s taking over Canada.”
According to league CEO, and former Ticat, Mike Morreale, the proof is in the players.
“13 of which are in the NBA, 160 are playing in Europe and elsewhere, 100 kids are at NCAA schools playing and we have 200 players in USports playing.”
The Honey Badgers and the league are hoping that fans will turn out here to watch Canadian talent play.
“They’re playing elsewhere during the traditional basketball season and in the offseason they’re hanging out, painting houses, why not give them a chance to play basketball to give the local fans a chance to see them.”
It’s a risk local hoop heads think could be a slam dunk.
The league will sport six teams, three in this area including Niagara and Guelph. The other three teams are in Saskatoon, Edmonton and Abbotsford, B.C. Ticket information will be revealed later down the road and the season is set to kickoff next May.