New Brunswick

Magic retires Miracles: Moncton welcomes new pro basketball team

The Moncton Miracles brand has been retired, and a new basketball team, the Moncton Magic, has stepped into the National Basketball League of Canada.

Team joins Sudbury, Ont., franchise as one of two new squads in National Basketball League of Canada

In their six years, the Moncton Miracles finished with a losing record five times and one tied record. In the the 2016-2017 season, the Miracles finished last in the league for win-to-loss ratio. (CBC)

The Moncton Miracles brand has been retired, and a new basketball team, the Moncton Magic, has stepped into the National Basketball League of Canada.

The new organization, principally owned by three local businessmen, will take the long-troubled Miracles' place in the Moncton Coliseum, the league announced on its website.

"The Miracles had a wacky six years," said David Magley, commissioner of the NBL.

"From a fan's standpoint they were consistent, they came out, they supported. But from an ownership standpoint, we had one ownership group for three years and then the league pretty much ran it for three years, always looking for someone to come in and take over."

The team and the NBL franchise in Sudbury, Ont., become the two new squads in the league, which will enter its seventh season in November.

Looking for magic

Magley called the decision to start a new franchise a way of giving basketball a "fresh start" in a city that was struggling to establish itself in the league.

The Miracles were never owned by Moncton residents, meaning they faced distinct challenges, he said.

"[The Moncton Magic's] staff is going to live there year-round, they're going to market it year-round," he said.

"Before, we haven't had that luxury."

The new organization will look to build on the Miracles' losing record on the court.

During six years, the team finished with a losing record five times and one tied record. In the the 2016-2017 season, the Miracles finished last in the league for win-to-loss ratio.

David Magley, commissioner of the National Basketball League of Canada, called the decision to start a new franchise a way of giving basketball a "fresh start" in a city that was struggling to establish itself in the league. (Submitted/The NBL of Canada)

According to Magley, ownership troubles contributed to the losses on the court.

"Because we've run the franchise from afar, we've run it as skinny as we possibly can," he said.

"The smallest staff, the least amount of money spent on payroll for the players, meaning that we haven't always been able to invest the most that could be on the team so that they could be as competitive."

Building a franchise

Magley said the Magic will start up where the Miracles left off in terms of  talent on the court and will likely feature a handful of the same players.

"It's no different than any year," he said. "Every team every year starts with a core three or four or five guys that played the year before."

I think we'll see the Coliseum rocking this year.- David Magley

The three owners are Jeremy Milburn, David Booth and Jon Manship, who will be the acting president of the team.

The team will play 20 home games in the 2017-2018 season, and Magley said the league will make an attempt to schedule these games on the weekend to give an attendance boost to the new franchise.

He said attendance nearly doubles at basketball games in Moncton on the weekends.

"If we can really build a schedule for them that's built around weekends and they have that opportunity, I think we'll see the coliseum rocking this year," Magley said.

He hopes to see the team "flourish" in the Moncton Coliseum after the brand gains momentum leading up to the season's start in mid-November.

"I think that it's almost built-in that they should be very successful," he said.

With files from Information Morning Moncton

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