A new semi-professional basketball team is hoping Calgary warms up to the sport.

si-cgy-calgarycrush

The Calgary Crush would be the only Canadian team in the Amercian Basketball Association. ((Meghan Grant/CBC))

The Calgary Crush is vying to become the only Canadian team in the American Basketball Association — or ABA.

Dave Lee, who played for Mount Royal and U of C, headed to Europe after graduation in order to stay in the game.

But he’s hopeful the Crush will catch on, allowing him to stay and play in Calgary.

"I’m excited to just see how things unfold and how they go from here," he said.

There are 59 teams in the ABA. Calgary would be the only Canadian squad.

si-cgy-calgary-crush

The new team still needs to be formally approved by ABA officials before it joins the league. ((American Basketball Association))

Last week the Crush played twice against the second-place Los Angeles Slam, a team that’s stacked with former NBA players.

Calgary lost both times, but only by a few baskets each time. That could bode well as the Crush awaits league approval, which comes only if the team can prove it's competitive.

Coach Eddie Richardson said the goal is to get as many local players on the roster as possible. He wants the team to be a platform for players straight out of university, he added.   

"It’s actually a community project because we want people and we want Calgary to be put on the map. So there's some great phenomenal players that come out of Calgary that nobody really knows about that have done some great things," he said.

But Calgary has proven to be a tough market for basketball.

Six years ago the Calgary Drillers managed only one season in the ABA.

And two earlier attempts to bring pro basketball to Calgary were scuttled after their leagues folded.

The Calgary Outlaws were part of the National Basketball League, which lasted only the 1994 season. And the Calgary 88’s played in the city from 1988 until 1992 when the World Basketball League folded.

If the Crush gets league approval its first official game will be next fall.