Category: Mill Rats / NBL Canada

A League of Our Own

As I mentioned in previous posts, I had the good fortune to work with the Saint John Mill Rats the last couple of seasons as an assistant coach. Although obligations with work and my high school team limit how many practices and road games I get to attend, the experience has been nothing but positive and has got me excited about the future of basketball in this region and across Canada.

At the beginning of this season there were a number of nay sayers around the country thinking the NBL of Canada (the Mill Rats’ new league) was not going to succeed because it wasn’t Canadian enough and it was too regional. These people wanted the NBL to increase the minimum number of Canadians per team (currently set at two) and thought a league based in Eastern Canada wouldn’t be embraced.

Well…I’m glad to report…they couldn’t have been more wrong!

It’s true that the minimum of Canadian players per team is only two but the number of Canadians involved with these teams goes well beyond the basketball court. For the Mill Rats we had three Canadian assistant coaches, a Canadian strength and conditioning coach, a Canadian training staff, a front office with several Canadians in leadership positions, plus countless Canadians filling game day roles such as officials, minors officials, dance team and TV production crew just to name a few. Add in the thousands of fans that have attended the games and  all the young Canadian players who get to watch professional basketball in their home towns, I think it’s fair to say a cultural change in Canadian Basketball  has begun.

Later this afternoon the NBL will wrap up their inaugural season when the Halifax Rainmen take on the London Lighting in the fifth and deciding game of the NBL Finals. The excitement of the Finals has been a perfect ending to a great season. Not only have the games been close and fun to watch, but fan support in both arenas has been excellent.

I’m looking forward of watching the league (and the Mill Rats) build on the success of this past season. Maybe we’ll see a Canadian head coach running one of the teams next year? Maybe more of the top Canadian players will choose to stay home to play instead of heading oversees? Maybe we’ll see National coverage of the games on TV? What ever is in store, it’s going to be exciting and good for the sport and our Canadian talent.


New Look…New Season

With a new basketball season about to begin, I thought it was time to get back to updating my blog more regularly. Hopefully I’ll do a better job than I’ve done over the last year as there should be lots to write about this season.

To get things start I’ve updated my site with a new look and feel. Being a typical computer geek I tend to turn simple tasks into a much more complicated process than it should be and this time was no different. I’ve switched out my old blogging engine (again) and have moved back to good old WordPress. I’ve also added lots of widgets under the covers to take advantage of all the great social networking tools now available. Hopefully taking the time to wire this all together has given me some valuable hands on experience plus I’ll have a more effective platform for sharing some thoughts on my favorite sport.

Since I haven’t posted anything here for so long there is lots to talk about but I’ll keep this post short and will follow up with more details as we go forward. Here is a quick summary of what has been happening so far this season…

BNB Elite Development Program
Basketball New Brunswick has created a new program for their elite athletes which will replace the Center for Performance (CP) program. The new program will include five Regional Training Centers (RTC) across the province where athletes will training with local coaches using an updated version of the CP curriculum and practice plans developed by BNB. I’m helping out with the south-west RTC and will be writing about some of the great discussions I’ve had with other coaches regarding the content of the new CP curriculum, especially the footwork development.

Saint John Mill Rats
The Mill Rats are now part of the new National Basketball League of Canada. Players are starting to arrive here in Saint John and we’re only a couple of weeks away from the opening of training camp. The buzz about the new league, especially in the Canadian cities starting up professional basketball teams for the first time, has been unbelievable. I plan to return as an assistant coach again this year and hopefully will be able to post some articles on here regarding how the team adjusts to playing FIBA rules which will be the first time for some players on the roster.

NPH East Coast Showcase
North Pole Hoops  are holding a player combine and showcase at Nova Scotia Agriculture College (Truro, NS) September 30 – October 2. The event is open all Atlantic area players interested in proving themselves against the best players on the East coast. I’m aware of few area players that have registered for the event and I plan to drop down to observe the action.

KVBA Slammers
My son Ryan has been selected as the head coach for KVBA Bantam A boys teams. He’s been working basketball camps for years and has been an assistant coach on many teams in the area for years, but this is his first head coaching position. It looks like he has a pretty talented group of kids and I’m sure they are going to love player for a younger coach. It’s going to be great watching this team develop throughout the season.

There will be lots more to write about, especially as we moved in the high school season, and as I mentioned at the top, hopefully I can do a better job posting here than I did last season. If nothing else I have to at least keep up with Moncton Miracles assistant coach Serge Langis over at Lashing by Langis.

It’s good to be back online. Let’s have a great season.