Sudbury Wolves owner Dario Zulich announced this morning he's purchased a National Basketball League of Canada (NBL) team.
The news comes less than a week after Zulich announced he had purchased the Sudbury Spartans football team.
This new Northern Ontario franchise has yet to be named.
Sudbury Wolves Sports & Entertainment (SWSE) and the NBL Canada are hopeful to confirm participation in the 2017-18 season as soon as late spring/early summer.
Confirmation is required prior to preparing the season schedule. Both organizations are optimistic that professional basketball in Northern Ontario will be begin as early as next winter.
“The expansion and growth of the Sudbury Wolves family is very near and dear to my heart,” said chairman and owner Dario Zulich, in a press release.
“With the Spartans, we complement the seasons. With Basketball, we complement the facility and we broaden the entertainment options in the market. We have been watching this league for the past two seasons and we have seen significant growth in the league. The time is now right to bring professional basketball into the fold.”
The NBL Canada is currently in the playoff season in their sixth consecutive seasons of operation and has continued to see growth year after year in both franchises, attendance and revenues.
“As the commissioner of the league, we see the opportunity to expand the league from coast to coast and Northern Ontario is a natural launching pad for that to the west, but more important for us is the opportunity to engage a model that maximizes local relationships and the synergies of the current junior hockey main tenants in markets nationally,” said NBL Canada Commissioner David Magley.
Magley’s basketball career extends over 40 years from his playing days in high school through college and into his professional time in the NBA and internationally.
He has coached for more than 20 years and has coached in the NBL.
“We have the opportunity to grow the game, integrate into a wonderful market like Sudbury, smack in the middle of Northeastern Ontario,” Magley said.
“The reality of Sudbury is that it is on the door step, the back door step, of one of the biggest markets in North America and it is a beautiful place to live.”
The league currently has 10 teams, five in Atlantic Canada that play in the Eastern Conference and five that play out of southern Ontario cities in the Central Conference.
Magley coached the team in Brampton before it moved to Orangeville two seasons ago when he took on the challenge of commissioner and growing the league.
“There has been a number of dramatic changes in the Greater Sudbury Sports landscape in the past year, and that’s an exciting time for the entire community,” said Andrew Dale, VP of marketing and development with the Sudbury Wolves and partner of Zulich and Perry Dellelce in the proposed regional entertainment district on the Kingsway known locally at True North Strong.
“We have always focused on a model that hosted 100+ events per year, coupled with big national events to make the event centre in our region a success. We have a very strong basketball community in Greater Sudbury and Northern Ontario, similar to the football community, tight knit and passionate.
“We are excited about basketball because it is an international game for an international mining city. Basketball offers a dynamic complement to the core institutions like the Wolves and Spartans. Positioned properly with the right mix, our goal is to make this Northern Ontario’s team and see passionate basketball fans join us from all over Northeastern Ontario and Western Quebec.”