‘ We are full steam ahead’

De­spite Hal­i­fax Rain­men bank­ruptcy, plans for Syd­ney NBL of Canada fran­chise still a go: Lev­ingston

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY T.J. COLELLO & KRIS­TEN LIP­SCOMBE

Ty­rone Lev­ingston says de­spite the news the Hal­i­fax Rain­men filed for bank­ruptcy on Mon­day, his plans to bring a Na­tional Bas­ket­ball League of Canada fran­chise to Syd­ney haven’t changed.

“We are full steam ahead with what we’re try­ing to do in Syd­ney,” said Lev­ingston, son of Hal­i­fax fran­chise owner An­dre Lev­ingston. “It def­i­nitely doesn’t af­fect what we’re try­ing to do.”

NBL of Canada com­mis­sioner David Ma­gley re­cently toured Cen­tre 200. Ty­rone Lev­ingston con­firmed he’ll be putting in his ap­pli­ca­tion to the league in the next week or so for a Syd­ney team.

The pro­posed fran­chise has al­ready re­ceived the back­ing of lo­cal busi­ness­man Parker Rud­der­ham. Ty­rone Lev­ingston said there are oth­ers lo­cal busi­ness peo­ple close to be­ing added to the own­er­ship group.

“The com­mis­sioner made a state­ment (Mon­day) that there will be a team in Hal­i­fax. I think there will be restruc­tur­ing and get­ting new own­er­ship in place,” he said. “I be­lieve there will be a team in Hal­i­fax, so we may still have that ri­valry.”

The Rain­men filed for bank­ruptcy Mon­day morn­ing, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease is­sued later in the day by a lo­cal PR firm, which told the Metro news­pa­per in Hal­i­fax that fran­chise owner An­dre Lev­ingston wasn’t avail­able for media in­ter­views on the mat­ter.

But An­dre Lev­ingston, who helped get the NBL of Canada fran­chise off the ground, did state in the re­lease that he is “in­cred­i­bly proud of what the Hal­i­fax Rain­men have ac­com­plished over the past eight years.”

Dur­ing the 2014-15 sea­son, the Rain­men made it to the NBL of Canada’s cham­pi­onship se­ries, de­spite fi­nan­cial strain and the fact that coach­ing staff and play­ers de­cided not to show up for the sev­enth and fi­nal game, cit­ing safety con­cerns on and off the court.

Calls to le­gal firm Grant Thorn­ton, which is act­ing as trustee for the bank­ruptcy claim, also went un­re­turned Mon­day.

“We heard ru­mours about money get­ting tight,” point guard Cliff Clinkscales said Mon­day. “But we didn’t know how true it was.”

The $90,000 worth of fines in­curred by coaches, play­ers and the club it­self “for con­duct detri­men­tal to the league” dur­ing the cham­pi­onship fi­asco didn’t help fi­nances.

Ma­gley said in Mon­day’s news re­lease that he is “per­son­ally con­fi­dent that there will be an NBLC team in the great city of Hal­i­fax and that a team will play (next) sea­son.”

GREG MCNEIL/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Ty­rone Lev­ingston, who is work­ing to get a Na­tional Bas­ket­ball League of Canada fran­chise in Syd­ney, says the Hal­i­fax Rain­men bank­ruptcy re­ported Mon­day won’t change his plans.

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