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I was poking around on the IBL's website last night and noticed that aside from the teams playing in their Winter Division, they have posted the schedule. The only exception is the Edmonton Energy. With the Energy being shown as an active team, it is obvious they haven't folded. Though, my hopes are slim since they skipped the playoffs last year. But does anyone know what is going on in Edmonton?
Here's the first part of a league press release from yesterday:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: International Basketball League's eight power teams load up for 2011 season
The International Basketball League has 8 of the best teams in all of minor league basketball- all with a solid chance of winning the IBL 2011 Championship
Los Angeles Lightning- the 2009 Champions are now a 4th year team with a strong roster featuring 6 ex-NBA players.
Vancouver Volcanoes- a 7th year team- that has featured top talent over the last 3 years under owner Bryan Hunter
Bellingham Slam- have been to the IBL finals 2 times in their 6 year history (the Slam won the IBL title in 200
Edmonton Energy- this 3rd year ownership group in a 4th year city carries the best win-loss record over last two years
Kankakee County Soldiers- this 6th year organization won the IBL Winter Championship on January 16th 2011
Albany Legends- the recent 2010 IBL Champions are entering their 2nd year in a city rich with basketball tradition
Oregon Waves- David Lucas, Terrance Dickens & Josh Craft look to get this 3rd year team back to the IBL Championship in 2011 (the Oregon Waves played in the 2009 Championship and lost to the LA. Lightning 2 games to 1).
Gary Splash- plays at the Genesis Center Arena; this 1st year team is led by owner and head coach Jay Bradford; the team completed (last weekend) a 12 win and 6 loss season in the IBL's 2010/2011 Winter division (a new division).
I just noticed that there is now a schedule for Edmonton posted. They only have 4 road games the whole season. I hope it isn't a sign that it is simply an "exhibition" season by not having the IBL championship on their schedule. Some of the teams do, which is why I was curious.
So yesterday saw a press conference in Edmonton regarding next season. Looks like Paul Sir won't be back as GM or Head Coach. I didn't attend the presser, but saw the articles in the two papers this morning. The Journal saw some harsh words coming out of Sir.
I don't have high hopes for this franchise after reading this. I still plan to attend a few games in the upcoming season, but looks like the owners are cheap and may not spend the money necessary to keep the team going.
The one thing I find strange is why they decided it was a good idea to play May 27 vs. the USA All-Stars in Edmonton and then May 28 and 29 in Fort MacMurray. It is a 5 hour drive from Edmonton to Fort Mac, or an expensive flight. If $10,000 last year was make or break for the team, seems like this one is a waste of money. I get the idea behind playing there since the town is oil rich etc. etc., but May is prime season for rig work, so I doubt there will be tons interested in the game. June 3 and 4 they play in Olds and Calgary respectively and June 12 in Red Deer. Just seems like unnecessary expenses if they were so broke. Also, I certainly hope that the Energy aren't on the hook for bringing the visitors to the game too.
At least there is a tiny commitment to the future, they have a link to their 2012 home. A new Community Rec Centre being built in Edmonton. I know nothing about the project other than what the Go Centre's website shows, but nowhere does it mention that the basketball courts have any seating. Seems like it might be a step-backward for the team.
All the same, I will head up for a few games and support them. I just hope they get the 800-1000 per game the owners state they need to remain afloat. I just hope they crack their wallets to advertise a bit, otherwise after the bad press they received skipping the playoffs, I'd expect ABA sized attendance.
So I checked out the Energy's website tonight and it looks like they have revamped their out of town, home game schedule. The May 28 and 29 games against the USA All-Stars that were scheduled for Fort Mac, have now been scrapped. They moved the May 28th game to Calgary and the May 29th game to Olds. June 3rd against Oregon was initially scheduled for Calgary, has now been moved back to Edmonton. The June 4th game against Oregon has now been moved from Olds, to my hometown of Lloydminster. I am pumped to be able to see a professional game in my city and be able to be at my place within minutes of the final buzzer. The June 12th game that was schedule for Red Deer has been moved back to Edmonton.
Sounds like the ownership group reads these boards and Facebook. Either that or facilities were such that the games could not be played where they were supposed to.
Gotta guess the host city was scheduled to pay the freight for those games. No money, no game.
The Fort Mac games most likely. I'm also not entirely sure where they would play. I guess at a high school up there.
What I am curious about is why announce these locations if nothing was secured? I'm happy that they are playing here in Lloydminster, but seems strange you'd unveil a schedule that includes games in Fort Mac and then change them.
Their ownership group runs a group on Facebook and it looks like the schedule underwent a second draft before the one I saw last night. The June 3 and 4 games were in Fort Mac, according to the events they posted in the group on the 17th. At any rate, I sure hope people pack Lakeland College on the 4th when the Energy is here. It would be nice if this city could prove it could host a pro basketball team.