Plans for semi-pro basketball in the works
Semi-professional basketball could be coming to Mississauga in the fall.
Onwers of a new franchise, the
Mississauga Red Wolves of the American Basketball Association (ABA), have been negotiating with the City to use the Hershey
Centre for the team's 16 home games, which begin in November.
"We have more meetings with the City next week and, pending
an agreement, we'll be at the Hershey Centre," said Paul Riley, president of the team and a partner in Can-American Entertainment
Group, owners of the team.
"The people at the City have been great," Riley said. "They know our time line and I fully
expect we'll have an agreement."
"At this point, I think both sides are kind of kicking the tires," said John Rydzewski,
director of the Hershey Group.
"(The team's owners have) some homework to do and we've got to work some things out,
too. Their schedule would have to work around the IceDogs (Mississauga's Ontario Hockey League team) and some of the other
events that are booked into the Hershey Centre...but there are some dates available and it's certainly within the realm of
Both Riley and Rydzewski believe basketball can be successful in Mississauga.
"We think Mississauga
is a vibrant city and can sustain a basketball franchise," Riley told The News, adding he has approached Rogers Television
to examine the possibilities of the local cable station televising some or all of the team's home games.
is so huge in the city," added Rydzewski. "It has a lot of appeal because of the wide cultural diversity. I'd like to look
The Red Wolves currently have only a name and an ownership group at this point: The team has no players or
coaches and the league's website doesn't list the division in which the Mississauga team would play.
calls from some of the best players in the country and we're planning open tryout camps across the province," Riley said.
"We want to be a community team with Canadian players and as many local players as we can.
"Our game will be very affordable,
will cater to the fans and give them a high level of basketball competition."
He sees ticket prices ranging from $12
to $30 per game.
Riley said the 52-team ABA sits behind the National Basketball Association and the American-based
National Basketball Development League in status.
There are four Canadian franchises in the ABA (Montreal, Quebec City,
Vancouver and Mississauga), franchises in Beijing, China and Tijuana, Mexico, in addition to the United States.
ABA has been around in one form or another since 1967 when it competed with the NBA before the two associations merged in
The current version of the ABA, which has its headquarters in Indianapolis, began operations with eight teams
in 2000. By 2004, there were 33 teams.