he St. John’s Edge officially begin their training camp Wednesday, but with the bulk of the team’s pre-season roster in town, the National Basketball League of Canada expansion team has already begun closed-door sessions.
With less than three weeks before the start of the NBL Canada regular season, there is no time to waste.
Same goes for the team’s off-court preparations.
In any sport, at any level, it’s always busy before the start of a new season, but that is much more the case for a brand-new franchise operating within an extremely short window.
From whistles to basketballs to towels to practice uniforms to training equipment, just about everything tangible associated with running a team needs to be obtained, and unlike the American Hockey League clubs that operated in St. John’s, there is no big-league parent organizations to help supply them.
The process of identifying off-court and on-court officials is underway, the latter with assistance from the league. As was the case with the AHL, there will be a 50-50 draw, which requires setting up a charitable entity with non-profit certification.
Accommodations, both temporary (during training-camp) and longer-term, must be identified, especially since living expenses are generally part of players’ contracts in the NBLC.
And of course, there is the continuing process of attracting fans; the sale of season tickets and multi-game packages has started and single-seat tickets will go on sale Friday.
The team’s operators bought themselves some extra preparation time by not having the first home game until Dec. 1, nearly two weeks after the start of the season. But with the Edge playing its inaugural game Nov. 18 in Charlottetown, P.E.I., against the Island Storm, head coach Jeff Dunlap doesn’t have the same buffer. He’ll have to determine his 12-player roster very quickly.
There are still players expected to arrive from NBA G-League training camps and overseas pro leagues still underway, but the bulk of the would-be Edge players are in town. They’ll get in just about a week of workouts before playing an intra-squad game Nov. 9. As well, there are plans for a Nov. 13 exhibition contest against a local all-star team.