Nfld. & Labrador

Newfoundland Rogues to take over Mile One Centre as St. John's newest basketball franchise

The American Basketball Association team, the first of its kind in Newfoundland and Labrador, was unveiled Wednesday.
The Newfoundland Rogues will play their first game in St. John's on Nov. 27. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

The newest professional sports franchise to hit St. John's unveiled its logo Wednesday at a courtside press conference at Mile One Centre. 

The Newfoundland Rogues will play at the province's largest stadium, the former home of the St. John's Edge of the National Basketball League of Canada.

It's the first time an American Basketball Association franchise has settled in Newfoundland and Labrador.

"I have some very, very talented guys," said head coach Jerry Williams, who said he's signed more than a dozen players so far.

The Rogues will host all 30 of its games in the upcoming season at Mile One. St. John's Mayor Danny Breen said he anticipates a boost for nearby businesses.

"We are very pleased with it," he told reporters at Wednesday's unveiling. "Having those 30 event nights is huge. It means more people downtown, more people visiting the businesses downtown and generating the economic activity that Mile One Centre is designed to generate."

The Rogues have signed a five-year lease at the city-owned stadium, which has struggled to retain a tenant over the last two years.

Owner Tony Kenny said he expected to bring "high-level ball" to the city, and conveyed confidence the team would draw in a fanbase — despite co-existing, and potentially competing, with the St. John's Edge.

Owner Tony Kenny expressed confidence Wednesday that fans will adapt to the new team. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

"A lot of former NBA players have come in this league and they're very competitive and they're very entertaining. So the league will sell on entertainment, and we are going to deliver that here at Mile One," he said.

"Ultimately, the fans are going to decide what entertainment they're going to go see."

The newest version of the ABA, launched in 1999, comprises dozens of teams across North America, from Alaska to Florida.

The Newfoundland Rogues open their season Nov. 27.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador


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