Friday Dec 17 2004 The travel tribulations of the ABA's northern outpost
caught up with the Calgary Drillers on Friday night.
After leaving Alberta on Wednesday the Drillers played in Dallas on Thursday
night then answered a 4 a.m. wakeup call and flew
to New York city on Friday morning. Friday night the travel weary Drillers
lost to the Harlem Revival 118-101. Willie Murdaugh
, the 6'2" guard from USC, led the Drillers in scoring with 31 points.
Nate Driggers added 23 and Leland Anderson 22 for the
Drillers who led 56-52 at the half. Calgary was in the lead until the third
quarter when Harlem went on a 15-4 run to take control.
The Drillers continue the torrid pace of their season opening road
trip with back to back games against the New Jersey SkyCats
on Saturday and Sunday nights before heading to Portland to play the Reign
on Tuesday. After a two day stop for Christmas in
Calgary the Drillers are off again for a three game road swing before
playing their first game at home on January 2nd. (www.oursportscentral.com)
Thursday Dec 16 2004 Commentary The Calgary Drillers may
have set a new record for a professional sports debuting in it's f
irst week of competition. Traveling from Calgary Alberta to
Fort Worth Texas to Harlem New York to New Jersey and then to
Portland Oregon and back to Calgary and if they did that
in a direct line they would have put on 5,100 miles! Here are the
estimated distances Calgary to Fort Worth 1525 miles;
Fort Worth to Harlem 1401 miles; Harlem to Portland 1610 miles
; Portland to Calgary 553 miles. Strange how the ABA would
simply not schedule them to play against teams that are in their
(red) division? Calgary to Salt Lake 723 miles, Salt Lake to
Portland 553 miles, Portland to Bellevue 436 miles, Bellevue to
Calgary 436 miles. For a total of 2,148 miles as the crow flies
saving 3,000 miles travel? Maybe it’s the penalty for late entry? Unbelievable?
December 16, 2004 - The Calgary Drillers
played their first game in ABA history on Thursday night and couldn?t keep pace
with the seasoned Texas Tycoons. The Tycoons, who have been
playing regular season games for a month, beat the
Drillers 118-91 in Dallas, Texas.
Calgary last saw game action over a week ago when they scrimmaged against
the University of Calgary. The unfamiliarity with
ABA rules hurt the Drillers late in the first half. The Tycoons broke
open a 4 point game in the final minute of the half with c
onsecutive four point baskets. In the last minute of each half in the ABA,
a backcourt steal adds a point to each shot and
Texas sank back to back ?threes? off a full court press for 53-40 half
Former Boston Celtic Nate Driggers scored 24 points with 5 boards for the
Drillers. Damian Owens almost matched that
feat for Calgary with 24 points and 4 rebounds.
The Drillers continue their hectic five game road trip in Harlem, New York
on Friday night against the Knights, then
meet the first place New Jersey SkyCats in back to back games on the weekend,
making it four games in four nights.
Calgary then heads to Portland, Oregon to face the Reign before heading
home for Christmas. The Drillers then play
three more on the road during Christmas week before coming back to
Alberta for their home opener on January 2nd.
They then play 10 more games at home in January.
Details on Drillers tickets and their playing venue will be announced early
December 16, 2004 - For Canadian Basketball Hall of Famer Ruby Richman it?s his third ABA team. This time,
however, he is the General Manager of a team in his own country. After
a year in Chicago and two more in Las
Vegas Richman now leads the first Canadian franchise in the American Basketball
Association, the Calgary Drillers.
The Drillers finally start their 2004-2005 season with an extended road
trip this week that will take them to Dallas (Texas Tycoons),
New Jersey (New Jersey SkyCats), Harlem (Knights) and Portland (Portland
Reign) before Christmas. Calgary will
play their first home game the first week of January 2005.
The historic Corral, former home of the WHA Calgary Cowboys and WHL Calgary
Hitmen will become the home base for the Drillers.
On the court head coach Otis Hailey has assembled a veteran team led by
former Boston Celtic Nate Driggers. The 6?6? f
orward from Montevallo College in Alabama will anchor a Drillers team that
features two of the tallest players in the ABA
, 7?3? center Luke Minor, a product of the Michigan Wolverines program
and 6?10? center Mark Evans from Rhode
Island. USBL star James Penny will join the team in Dallas for their
season opener against the Texas Tycoons. It should
be quite the homecoming for Penny was had an outstanding career at
Texas Christian University.
Defensively the Drillers are led by 6?2? guard Willie Murdaugh of South
Carolina. The former Spartans star is no strange
r to playing in Canada having previously played for Coach Hailey with the
Saskatchewan Hawks where he also was
8th in the CBA in scoring with an 18.7 point average.
The complete Drillers roster is as follows: Leland Anderson 6' 8" F
Providence Nate Driggers 6' 6" F Montivello Mark Evans 6' 10" C Rhode Island Jerry McNair 6' 5" G Washington State Luke
Minor 7' 3" C Huron Willie Murdaugh 6' 2" G USC Fred Nichols 6' 5" G Cal. State Bakersfield Kevin Norris 5' 10" G
Miami Jerrick Oliver 6' 7" F McNeese State Damian Owens 6' 6" F West Virginia James Penny 6' 7" F Texas Christian Jai
Pradia 6' 6" F Pittsburgh State
The Drillers will announce their complete home schedule and ticket information
on Monday, December 20th. January will be their busiest month with 10 home games.
Saturday Nov 27, 2004: Horray! It's finally up and running the Calgary
Drillers website www.calgarydrillers.ca. The colour scheme is nearly identical to our site Frozen Hoops and catchy.
Drillers' Head Coach Otis Hailey told me originally that the site would be up by Thursday Nov 19 but better late then never.
The key now is to start filling in the blanks ASAP with player profiles...game schedule...photographs...ticket purchase info
and most importantly Calgary Drillers merchandise!
Friday Nov 26, 2004:Indianapolis, IN. The ABA professional basketball league
today announced that the Calgary Drillers will be added to the ABA schedule and will play this season. According to Joe Newman,
ABA co-Founder, "We know it is late and the season started. However, due to scheduling and transportation problems, it was
necessary to delay the start of Calgary's season. They can quickly make up the games and play a full season."
Newman added, "The team has made some excellent personnel decisions, including
well-known attorney and Canadian basketball figure R. Ruby Richman as President/General Manager of the team. Otis Hailey will
be Head Coach; Sean Tyson Asst Coach and Director of Player Development; and Kelly Hazelgrove as Athletic Trainer. The team
has just signed Damien Owens, a 6'6" guard/forward from West Virginia; Jerrick Olliver, a 6'7" guard/forward from McNeese
and Rodney Bass, a 6'6" guard from Texas Tech. Richman stated, "We have our work cut out for us but within a few days, we'll
be ready to roll and we will be very competitive." For more information, contact Kelly Hazelgrove at 403 998 2480 or email
to firstname.lastname@example.org, Sean Tyson at 403 383 2480 or email@example.com or visit www.abalive.com.
Indianapolis, IN. Joe Newman, ABA co-Founder, today announced that
the ABA will be expanding to Montreal, Canada in 2005. According to Newman, "There has been just too much publicity
about Montreal not being able to support professional sports. Our feeling has always been that the problem does not
lie with the city, but with the team. Montreal is a great city and will support professional sports if you give the fans a
quality product at affordable prices. That's the ABA - and we have no doubt the fans of Montreal will love the exciting fast-paced
high scoring ABA games - and the very affordable ticket prices."
The team will be owned by Sports Franchise Acquisition
Corporation, with the principle co-owner being Serena Locker-Coles, a well-established businesswomen and a native of Montreal.
Mrs. Coles added, "The ABA appears to be a league of opportunity with so much diversification of ownership including
women owners. We are extremely excited about this opportunity and echo Mr. Newman's sentiments - Montreal is a terrific
sports city if you give the fans a quality product. My partners and I intend to do just that." For more information, contact
Serena Locker-Coles, 703-942-7449 or fax 703-942-7450 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.abalive.com.
Tuesday Nov 16 2004: Just got off the phone (12:21 p.m.) with Drillers'
coach Otis Hailey who told me the Drillers are a go and that the season will commence for them on November 29 when they start
a six-game road series. They will return home for six game stands with three different teams coming in for two game series.
They will continue the season with six games away and six games at home to cut down on travel costs. Hailey also said they
are close to signing DeJuan Wheat. The two-year NBA vet (U of Louisville) was the first player in NCAA Division I history
with career totals of 2,000 points, 450 assists, 300 three-point field goals and 200 steals. GO DRILLERS
E-mail (8:05 a.m.) from Joe Neumann head of ABA in regards to Calgary
Drillers situation: "Calgary is confusing. I'll try to clear it up. Calgary will play this season. Their original schedule
was assigned to Visalia CA for travel reasons for both home and away. We are reworking the Calgary schedule to make it easier
for them on the road, and easier for teams to visit there (because of the distance)."
Excerpts from Canadian Press story Monday Nov. 15, 2004: (CP) One of the
ABA's targets is Montreal, a notoriously fickle and unforgiving market that has seen pro basketball, Major League Baseball
and even junior hockey teams bolt. Montreal businessman Alain Lord is getting involved in trying to bring the ABA to Montreal,
where the NBL's Montreal Dragons folded after 17 games in 1993. Lord contacted the league last month to express his interest
in paying the $10,000 US franchise startup fee. He said he's willing to build a new, 10,000-seat arena himself with one caveat
- he wants to the city to give him the land for free. Lord also says he doesn't want land in the city's east end, where the
Expos struggled for years in cavernous Olympic Stadium. The city's two existing medium-sized venues aren't options, said Lord,
because they're governed by city contracts that funnel all profits from food sales straight to city workers. "In professional
sports, what is your first source of revenue?" he asked in a recent interview. "It's concessions, merchandising, tickets.
So if you don't have the concession money, how can that work?"
In the same above CP feature ABA commisioner Joe Neumann had this to say:
The Calgary Drillers, owned by Hall of Famer Ruby Richman, are Canada's first and only entry this year in the ABA, which is
undertaking an ambitious 30-team expansion effort. While the league's visibility in Canada is virtually nil, co-founder and
chairman Joe Newman says he plans to bring teams to three of Canada's largest cities by next year. "Calgary will play
this year, Vancouver and Toronto in 2005 and hopefully Montreal," the longtime basketball enthusiast said in a telephone
interview from league headquarters in Indianapolis. "We have to market it properly, there is no doubt in my mind that Montreal
or Toronto or Calgary or Winnipeg or Vancouver will welcome it."
Talked to Calgary Drillers coach Otis Hailey on Friday Nov 12, 2004 and
he told me "an announcement" on the team's future would be made Monday at noon. It seems - with the ABA season starting yesterday
night with the Georgia at Nashville - that announcement has already been made as Joe Newman, ABA co-founder, announced
that a team - Visalia Dawgs bsed in California - spearheaded by owner and former Fresno State basketball player Dominick Young,
would take over the Calgary schedule. Will get the scoop from Otis tomorrow (Monday Nov 15)
BREAKING NEWS Just got off the phone 3:50 p.m. Friday Nov. 5 with
American Basketball Association Calgary Drillers GM Ruby Richman and here is what he has to say about the current team situation.
are working on it (home opener Nov. 16, 2004 against the Utah Snowbears) right now but the facility (Calgary's Stampede Corrall)
we are dealing with have other things going on. The plan right now is to start on the road (at Utah Nov. 19) and probably
come back here in December. But to be honest we are making a decision next Tuesday (November 8, 2004) whether to postpone
the (2004-2005) season and come back ready for next year 2005-2006," says Ruby Richman, GM of the Calgary Drillers. "Everyone
in Calgary is excited but we want to do it right the first time. From marketing and promotion
Calgary Drillers may be CLASS of the ABA
Wow. The Drillers have signed four hi profile players that may be the
best four on the floor in the entire ABA with James Penny, Jai Pradia, Willie Murdaugh and Nate Driggers. Also signed is Kevin
Nate Driggers is a ABA vet having played in Juarez last
James Penny, dropping the dime for the USBL Oklahoma Storm,
is now bound for Calgary Drillers
by Curtis J. Phillips
Forget about Vince Carter or the Toronto Raptors holding the key to unlock
the age of enthusiasm in Canadian basketball.
If the door is to be open, it will be thanks to the American Basketball
Association’s Calgary Drillers.
Calgary has dribbled into the semi-pro realm before with the Calgary 88s'
- World Basketball League (1988-1992) reaching the finals three times – and the short-lived Calgary Outlaws (1994 National
Basketball League), but this time around their success on the hardwood will be of greater importance.
Despite one of the largest expansions in North American semi-pro sports
history, 28 teams this past summer, the 35-team A.B.A. has secured several major media outlets and with that in mind, some
The Drillers, who will play in the Stampede Corrall, will probably have
one of the strongest ABA rosters thanks to owner/coach Otis Hailey. Hailey has the longest tenure of professional basketball
coaching on Canada soil having called plays for the Montreal Dragons, Saskatchewan Hawks and the Vancouver Nighthawks.
Hailey was an assistant coach with the ABA's Tijuana Diablos last
"This is where I want to finish my coaching career," says Hailey of the
city of Calgary and the ABA franchise. "Calgary has strong support for (semi-professional) basketball in the past and I have
nothing but positive vibes about the community and it’s support.
"There are a lot of knowledgeable fans here in Calgary plus a strong base
of Americans living here from places like Dallas and Houston."
Hailey, a coaching veteran of 30 years who first came to Canada from
Bakersfield, California in the 1980s' to play for the traveling comedy squad the Harlem Clowns, said there will "probably
be Canadian player(s) on the team," but added, "we will not keep a Canadian player just for sake of having one just on the
principle that they are Canadian. If he makes the team he will be on it because he deserves to be."
Canadians mentioned include 6-foot-1 Jamie Charlton (University of Saskatchewan
Huskies and Midwest Basketball Association Buffalo City) and former national team member 6-foot-0 Novell Thomas who also played
semi-pro with the Buffalo City Thunder.
Names already mentioned for the Calgary team include former NBA Vancouver
Grizzly and Washington Wizards veteran 6-foot-5 Lawrence Moten (Syracuse), 6-foot-6 James Penny (Texas Christian University
and USBL Oklahoma Storm, 2004 leagues 6th leading scorer 19.7 and sixth in blocked shots 1.6) 6-foot-10 Kelly Wise
(U of Memphis and CBA Grand Rapids Hoops) and Andre McCollum (a 1999-2000 International Basketball Association All Star and
basketball gypsy who has played in the CBA, NBDL and most recently overseas in Israel).
Hailey also mentioned former NBA players Todd Day and DeJuan Wheat signing
Add to the mixture the hiring of Ruby Richman, a legend in Canadian hoops,
as General Manager and you have a strong base.
With 2005 expansion slated for a possible 16 teams, including Vancouver
and possibly Montreal, look for Edmonton, Saskatoon and Winnipeg to return to the semi-pro scene.
Alberta has had the Outlaws, 88s’, Alberta Dusters (Lethbridge, Continental
Basketball Association) and the Edmonton Skyhawks (NBL) and this past summer the Ontario Professional Basketball Association
made an attempt at stimulating the game north of the 49th parallel but quickly folded.
"We will be playing in by far the strongest division (Red/West)," says
Hailey of the 11-team division which includes teams in, among other places, Los Angeles (Stars) Las Vegas (Rattlers),
Long Beach (Jam) and Portland (Reign). "The fans will be entertained...we guarantee that"
The Drillers open their season on Nov. 16 hosting the Utah Snowbears a
team Hailey had tentatively signed on to coach last April before relocating to Calgary.
Sunday October 10, 2004: It's time to let the cat out of the bag. The new GM for the Calgary Drillers, to be announced this
week, is Canadian basketball legend Ruby Richman.b
PLEASE STAND FOR THE PLAYING
OF "OH CANADA." Calgary, Alberta to be ABA'S 27th Expansion Team
Indianapolis, IN. Joe Newman, ABA Co-Founder,
today announced that Calgary Alberta, Canada would be the 27th expansion team in the league this season. According to Newman,
"Our goal has been to expand in Canada, especially with three teams in Mexico. We were waiting for the right opportunity and
were thinking 2005. But the new ownership group, headed by Calgary businessman Spero Kokkans, wanted to play this season and
felt that they could put things together quickly. So, here we go again."
Newman added, "Mr. Kokkans brought in two
people to spearhead the operation naming Otis Hailey as Co-Owner/President and General Manager and Ronald Pryor as VP/Director
of Operations. Both bring with them considerable basketball experience and expertise and have confidence of being able to
jumpstart operations for a successful team."
Hailey has over 30 years experience as a professional player and coach
most recently having coached the ABA Tijuana team. Pryor is a professional basketball scout.
Hailey added, "We know
it is late and that we have only a few months before the start of the season. But Mr. Kokkans and his investment group are
helping us put together a very talented staff and providing great assistance. The city of Calgary is very excited though we
haven't even made the official announcement and the calls and emails have been overwhelming. Ron and I are confident that
we'll have one of the best operations in the league and appreciate the ABA letting us start this late. But we're moving ahead
Pryor added, "We haven't even had time to name the team. I think we'll have a Name the Team Contest and
we are already scheduling some tryout camps and putting together our staff. We'll be making many more announcements shortly.
But if you have a good idea for a team name, please email it to us; we'll award some season tickets to the winner."
Calgary - The
city has been awarded an American Basketball Association team, which will begin playing this fall.
Calgary is the 27th expansion franchise to be granted by the
ABA for the upcoming season. Vancouver is also among the new clubs.
The league had seven teams last season.
Calgary businessman Spero Kokkans heads the local ownership
group. Otis Hailey will serve as co-owner, president and general manager, while Ronald Pryor is vice-president and director
of operations. The team will begin league play in November.
Hailey has over 30 years of basketball experience, most recently
as coach of the Tijuana ABA team, while Pryor is a professional scout.
"The city of Calgary is very excited, though we haven't even
made the official announcement, and the calls and e-mails have been overwhelming," Hailey said in a release. "Ron and I are
confident that we'll have one of the best operations in the league and appreciate the ABA letting us start this late. But
we're moving ahead full steam."
Pryor said there would be a contest to name the team.
with files from Canadian Press
ABA's Vancouver team announces head coach
June 19, 2004 - Vancouver, BC. John M. Brazier, Co-owner,
CEO and Director of Basketball Operations of the new ABA Vancouver professional basketball team today announced the signing
of Jim Harrick as Head Coach. According to Brazier, "Vancouver is a major league city and deserves a coach with major league
credentials and ability - Jim Harrick fits both - and will help make Vancouver one of the premiere teams in the ABA."
Harrick had a 470-235 record in 23 seasons as a collegiate head coach.
He has taken four schools to the NCAA Tournament. During his stints at Pepperdine, UCLA, Rhode Island and Georgia, Jim built
outstanding teams, winning championships at each stop, and reaching the NCAA Tournament an amazing 16 times. His UCLA Bruin
squad racked up 31 wins and captured the NCAA National Championship, gaining him honor as 1995 National Coach of the Year.
Harrick added, "This is a great opportunity for me. Vancouver is a first-class
organization, the quality of play in the ABA is outstanding as is the coaching. Our team will be predominatly Chinese. We
have great talent coming in - and we will be very competitive. This will be both fun and interesting and I am looking forward
to the challenge."
ABA's Vancouver team appoints new CEO
June 3, 2004 - Vancouver, BC. John Probandt, Co-Owner
of the ABA's new Vancouver professional basketball team today announced that John M. Brazier has been appointed CEO and Director
of Basketball Operations. Probandt stated, "John provides us with the perfect combination of sportsman/businessman, a man
who has had success in every endeavor in which he has been involved. He'll lead our organization well."
A native of Seattle, WA, Brazier attended the University of Washington
where he played football and track. Upon graduation, he served two years in the U.S. Navy on a cruiser in the Pacific. Following
his service, he entered the forest products industry and established Brazier Forest Industries that owned and operated sawmills,
lumberyards, a door plant, and a laminating plant in Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii and British Columbia with sales
offices in western Europe, Japan, Australia and Vancouver, B.C. Recently, Brazier joined Rising Star Holdings as Vice President
of Marketing prior to being appointed CEO of the basketball operations.
Brazier added, "As you know, our team will be very unique with almost all
of our players being Chinese. We've spent considerable time in China and have no doubt that we'll be very, very competitive.
The talent is extraordinary. Vancouver is a great basketball city and deserves a high quality organization. I think fans will
love the ABA style of basketball and will be very impressed with the quality of play. We're looking forward to the challenge."
For more information, log onto www.abalive or email John Brazier at email@example.com
VANCOUVER BC EXPANSION TEAM NAMES PRESIDENT/GM Jamian Lai to Head Team Operations
Vancouver BC. The new ABA Vancouver professional basketball team has announced that Jamian Lai will be its new
President/GM of Basketball Operations. Lai will be responsible for overseeing team operations including scouting, marketing,
merchandising and overall business development for the new team. Lai brings a strong international background in finance,
marketing and media from the US and Asia. Lai studied at Harvard University and Beijung University and speaks both English
Vancouver team co-founder John Probandt stated, "Jamian has the idea background to successfully build
our Vancouver team from both a local and global perspective. His international experiences in business development, marketing
and media relations are important to achieve the global vision of our basketball organization."
"Jamian's global experiences
and connections in the sports and entertainment world will help establish Vancouver and the ABA to fans around the world.
Given his background, Jamian has the ability to bring a unique perspective with tremendous value to our franchise, fans, partners
and the ABA," added Vancouver team co-founder Weiqing "Walter" Huang.
Lai stated, "I am very excited at this opportunity
to put Vancouver basketball on the world map. We look forward to cultivating strong relationships with the local community,
as well as bringing a truly international flavor to the ABA."
"We aim to build a winning team that will bring fun
and excitement to basketball fans around the world, especially in Asia. Basketball growth has been impressive in China, and
we believe there is enormous potential from both a talent and market outlook. I believe our team will represent the future
direction of basketball and sports in the 21st century," Lai added.
Finally, Lai stated, "I believe Vancouver will
enthusiastically welcome the fast-paced, thrilling brand of ABA basketball that is appealing and affordable to friends everywhere."
Vancouver is planning a press conference in the near future to announce the venue, personnel, coaching staff, team
development and other details, including the new team name.
For more information and inquiries about the ABA Vancouver
team, log onto www.abalive.com or contact Jamian Lai directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Calgary has been home to two former pro
basketball teams. The Calgary 88's of the World Basketball League from 1988-1992 and the Calgary Outlaws of the National Basketball
League in 1994.
The World Basketball League was founded
as the International Basketball Association in November 1987, but changed its name prior to the 1988 season. The league
allowed only players under 6'5" tall, changing the restriction to 6'7" in 1992.
Some of the feature players for the Calgary
88s' included Carlos Clark, Dave Henderson, Chip Engelland, Jim Thomas, Sidney Lowe, Perry Young and David Boone. Coaches
for the team were Mike Thibault, 1988, Cory Russell, 1989 and Roger Lyons, 1989 - 1992.
A cornerstone franchise for the WBL,
the 88's reached the league finals three times. Although the team never won a WBL title, Calgary posted the league's best
regular season record in 1988, 1989, and 1991. In five seasons, the 88's went 151-78.
Former Calgary 88s' player Sidney Lowe was head coach for Memphis Grizzlies and Minnesota Timerwolves. Calgary
teammate Chip Engelland is now a assistant coach with the Denver Nuggets.
The ABA had a number of memorable personalities. Many of these
individuals are still involved in basketball today. Some are coaches, either in the NBA or at the college level. Others may
be seen on television, describing NBA or college action for national television audiences.
Below are some rare photos of these ABA Alumni, as they appeared
in their "wild" ABA days!