Monday, July 4, 2011

Kingston: no time to meet deadlines on Basketball League....pity!

By Jake Edmiston, Kingston Whig Standard, July 2, 2011
Kingston officials said they weren't able to complete an evaluation of the proposal before the deadline.

City commissioner Denis Leger said the franchise proposal required the city to purchase a basketball floor, nets and shot clocks for the K-Rock centre-- an estimated $100,000 investment.
The proposal for the franchise was submitted to city officials on June 13, leaving less than a month to assess the risks involved, negotiate a lease and have the lease agreement approved by city council.
Officials also needed to consult the K-Rock Centre's primary tenant, the Kingston Frontenacs.
"We didn't have sufficient time," said Leger, adding that the tentative price of a lease for the franchise wouldn't have covered the cost to convert the ice rink to a basketball court on a regular basis.
"We've left the door open. We've indicated to the league and the prospective franchisee that we'd entertain another proposal for the 2012-13 season or future seasons."...
The league's inaugural season is scheduled to start in October. Teams are expected in Saint John, Quebec, Halifax, Oshawa, London and Moncton.
While the public does not know all the fine print details, on the surface, the city has lost a golden opportunity, to be on the ground floor of a new basketball league operating in small and medium markets, starting in the fall of 2011.
With respect to the $100,000 for floor baskets, clock etc. there would be no reason to expect the initial value of the lease to cover those costs, in the first year, however, the purchase would open up the K-Rock Centre to many basketball tournaments by local area high schools, potential college and university tournaments that need additional floor space to the Queen's facility and the St. Lawrence facilities.
Additionally, the city could, with the purchase of a new floor, hoops and clock, invite the Toronto
Raptors to play an exhibition game prior to the start of each NBA season, thereby filling the 6000 seats with basketball enthusiasts.
The Syracuse Orange are a mere two hours away from Kingston, and there is no reason that their coach, Jim Beoheim, an inveterate champion of the sport, (pictured here) could not be persuaded to bring his troops here for an exhibition game at the start of each season, once again providing motivation, encouragement for potential players at both high school and college levels not to mention another sold-out gate of revenue.

While the current Frontenacs of the OHL are a long-standing tradition in Kingston, as is hockey in every Canadian village, town and city, there is considerable interest in and enthusiasm for both boys and girls basketball across the province. It is an exciting game, with many individual and team skills for participants at all levels, and as one who has coached the sport for well over twenty years in various Ontario towns and cities, at the high school level, the latest decision, whether by council itself, or by the Director of Administration, who claims not to have had enough time to meet the deadlines, is disappointing.
While everyone in the city applauds the purchase of a $125,000 9 foot Steinway grand piano for the Grande Theatre, there is no reason why a similar purchase for the "new" sport of basketball (for Kingston) would not serve the youth and the many parents and teachers whose knowledge of the sport now rivals the knowledge of most hockey fans for their favourite sport.
This is one purchase that need not wait "to see" if the league is successful, so that the city can then board a moving and viable train.

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