Bank­rupt

Rain­men owner says fran­chise did ev­ery­thing it could do

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - METRO HAL­I­FAX BY KRIS­TEN LIP­SCOMBE

Hal­i­fax’s pro bas­ket­ball team has of­fi­cially run out of funds.

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

But Lev­ingston, who helped get the Na­tional Bas­ket­ball League of Canada fran­chise off the ground, did state in the re­lease 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 Canada’s cham­pi­onship se­ries, de­spite fi­nan­cial strain and the coach­ing staff and play­ers de­cided not to show up for the sev­enth and fi­nal game, cit­ing safety con­cerns on and off the court.

“While it’s dis­ap­point­ing to see this chap­ter end, I can hold my head high know­ing that we did ev­ery­thing we could have done,” Lev­ingston said.

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.

Clinkscales hopes another owner steps up “to keep the team there.”

League com­mis­sioner David Ma­gley said in Mon­day’s news re­lease he is “per­son­ally con­fi­dent” a team will play in Hal­i­fax in 2015-16.

“It’s a sad sit­u­a­tion for the City of Hal­i­fax,” Clinkscales said. “That’s a great place to play and I think the real fans are sup­port­ive.”

Shoot­ing guard PJ Foster agreed.

“It’s tough see­ing our or­ga­ni­za­tion just col­lapse like that,” he said. “I liked play­ing in Hal­i­fax.”

JEFF HARPER/METRO

Hal­i­fax Rain­men owner and pres­i­dent An­dre Lev­ingston fields ques­tions from the media dur­ing a press con­fer­ence in May.

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