National Basketball of League Canada team on hold in Cape Breton
Plans for a professional basketball team in Sydney have been postponed
There will be no professional basketball team in Cape Breton this year.
Under the original plan, the National Basketball League's foray into Cape Breton was to be announced by today —including the club's name and its head coach.
But franchise founder Tyrone Levingston says that will have to wait.
He says with just over two months before the start of the NBL season, there wasn't enough time to get all the financing and other details put in place.
"Everyone knows how strenuous it is on one's nerves when you're overcoming problems and you're just starting with a new project. So we decided to take a step back and take a year to do our due diligence and get everything in line and give it a strong 'go' for next season," says Livingston.
The club has two major financial backers: Parker Rudderham and Marty Chernin.
Levingston and his partners have set a fundraising goal of $1 million.
That's their estimate of what it will cost to run the team for its first two seasons.
He says they also need to strike more sponsorship deals.
Commissioner agrees with decision
The commissioner of the National Basketball League Canada, David Magley, came to Sydney last month to announce the team's acceptance into the NBL.
Levingston says the commissioner agrees with the decision to postpone, and offers his total support over the next year.
"He's 100 per cent behind me — and anything I need from him and the league, they're behind me 100 per cent."
In the meantime the 32-year-old franchise holder is planning to announce the name of the team in the next few weeks.
He wants to start promoting the club name and logo as soon as possible.
The team was to have played its first game at Centre 200 on Dec. 26.
There were hopes that a strong rivalry would develop between the Sydney-based squad and other Maritime franchises, especially in Halifax.
The company that owned Halifax Rainmen filed for bankruptcy in July, two months after forfeiting a championship game and being fined thousands of dollars by the National Basketball League of Canada.
Last season's Rainmen final was forfeited by the Halifax Rainmen after the players said they were threatened with bodily harm by their opponents in Windsor, Ont. The forfeit was a black eye on the league and the incident attracted international attention.