June 14, 2007 - Premier Basketball League (PBL)
(Chicago, IL)...The Premier Basketball League announced today the addition of the Minnesota Ripknees to the new professional basketball league for the 2007-2008 season. The Ripknees, with one of the more colorful nicknames in all of professional sports, are owned by the father-son team of Jack and Billy Jurewicz. Minnesota joins the six charter teams in the PBL, including the Maryland Nighthawks, Rochester RazorSharks and Wilmington (NC) Sea Dawgs with expansion teams in Dallas, Texas, Bridgeport, Connecticut and the Reading (PA) Railers for the 2007-2008 season.
"We are proud to welcome the Minnesota Ripkees to the Premier Basketball League," said PBL President and CEO Tom Doyle. "The Ripknees have proven sports marketing experience in the Minneapolis-St. Paul marketplace and they provide a fun and energetic atmosphere at their games. Minnesota will prove to be a solid franchise both on and off the court."
The Ripknees went 24-8 in their inaugural season in minor league professional basketball last year in the ABA, drawing a solid fan base in St. Paul and the surrounding area, providing thrills on the court with players such as Jamel Staten, Tyrell Sledge and players from the University of Minnesota and Oklahoma University. Larry McKenzie is the Ripknees General Manager and Head Coach, guiding the team to a first place finish last season after a storied high school coaching career in the Minneapolis area.
The nickname "Ripknee" sprang from the mind of Jack Jurewicz as an every day super hero who would rip his pants and use his golden knee to save lives and towns from certain calamity. Originally, Ripknee was created to keep the Jurewicz children occupied on long car rides and family vacations, but he eventually grew to embody a code of morality and teach children valuable lessons.
Billy Jurewicz is founder and CEO of space150, one of the most revered and emerging agencies in the marketing world. Besides developing world-class web sites and technology, Jurewicz leads space150 with clients such as American Express, Discovery Channel and Dairy Queen. Jack Jurewicz is President of JJJ Group Inc., a business consulting and advisory firm for sales and marketing firms and is President and CEO of Senior Care Advisors LLC. He is a former player at Marquette University.
PBL teams are expected to play a minimum of 24-games in their inaugural season beginning in later December 2007, followed by championship playoffs in May 2008. An international touring team and international exhibition games with PBL teams are planned for the future, as well as professional basketball inter-league play.