A new rivalry could be born on Saturday night as the Island Storm host the St. John's Edge to tip off the 2017-2018 season.
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The Island Storm hit the reset button after back-to-back losing seasons, adding a new head coach and many new players in what they hope will be a exciting fresh start for the Charlottetown-based squad.
"The guys are really excited, everybody's thrilled to be with the Island storm and be here on Prince Edward Island," said Storm head coach Tim Kendrick.
'We wanted to start fresh with our team this year and really wanted to build a culture that our franchise can be proud of, and our fans and people here on the Island.' —Tim Kendrick
"The guys are really buying in well to the positive culture and things, they're really excited and thrilled to be here."
This is Kendrick's first game as head coach of the Storm and that's not the only first happening tonight at the Eastlink Centre. Tonight, the opposing team from St John's is playing its first game ever in the National Basketball League of Canada.
"It's a lot of new tonight," Kendrick laughed.
"They are literally in their first game, and with the exception of two of our guys, I guess we're a lot in the same boat. It's two islands playing against each other in all new surroundings."
'Hopefully that's enough to get us a W'
For the Storm, the roster is down to 12 starting players — only two of which have ever worn a Storm jersey before.
Though starting with a fresh team is tough, Kendrick said he's confident they'll have success, relying on a mix of former, yet seasoned, NCAA and CIS guards, including Andre Stringer, Franklin Session, Tyler Scott and Kemy Osse.
"We wanted to start fresh with our team this year and really wanted to build a culture that our franchise can be proud of, and our fans and people here on the Island."
Kendrick hopes to see a strong crowd out to support the team. He said there are five things the Storm will have to do to win:
- 1) Transition from defence to offence quickly
- 2) Control the boards, grabbing every offensive and defensive rebound they can
- 3) Limiting turnovers
- 4) Quickly getting back on defence after a score
- 5) Being aggressive and controlling the floor
"We're going to do the best with those five things and hopefully that's enough to get us a W."
Tip off is at 7:00 p.m. at the Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown.
This is the beginning of a 40-game schedule. The Storm play host again when they play the Moncton Magic on Thursday, Nov. 23.
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