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A new adventure begins | The Journal of Montreal

by archysport

Nine months after the announcement of the establishment of a professional basketball team in Montreal, it is today that the new formation of the Canadian Elite Basketball League is born.

The vice-president and director of operations of the new Montreal team, Annie Larouche, will unveil the club’s identity on Wednesday afternoon. Its name, logo, colors and marketing will finally be known.

However, do not believe that it will present the general manager and the head coach at the same time. It is still too early. For fans of the orange balloon, be patient. The first match is scheduled for next May.

Over the past few months, Larouche has defined the image of the club. In interview with The newspaperyesterday, she made many short but warm responses to avoid escaping costly information by speaking too much. She wanted to keep the surprise.

“We opted for a suggested name three times in the survey we conducted. It was important to choose a representative from our region. We have a great sense of belonging, it had to be representative, she said. In our discussions, as soon as the name came out, there was a moment of silence. And league commissioner Mike Morreale immediately agreed. “

Logical choice

It’s no longer a secret, this new pro club in Montreal has taken up residence at the Verdun Auditorium, recently renovated at a cost of $ 44 million. When choosing a home, Larouche only had a few options in the greater metropolitan area.

“We had the Auditorium, the Pierre-Charbonneau Center, the Maurice-Richard arena and Place Bell,” she quickly listed. According to our first criterion, we were looking for a place that could accommodate 3000 to 5000 spectators. And we wanted to play in Montreal. Place Bell in Laval was too big. It would have been difficult to fill it, which would have undermined the atmosphere. “

“For its cachet, capacity and accessibility, the Verdun Auditorium was the perfect place,” she continued.

The Vice-President has faced enormous challenges since the winter to put together the new team. She learned from the mistakes of other Montreal clubs, such as the new image of CF Montreal.

But where six other basketball clubs have tried to establish themselves in the past, it does not claim to arrive by dictating its law. Ms. Larouche wishes to meet each of her next challenges in harmony with her environment. Already, the collaboration is well established.

“The basketball community is large in Montreal and Quebec. I have felt it since my appointment and my arrival in post. People contacted me and I listened. We also see all the enthusiasm created by the presence of Quebecers in the NBA. So I would say that bonding with the community is the easy part. “

Ten home games

By forming a winning team with a local identity through the presence of Quebec players, it will be able to do well in the Montreal sports ecosystem.

The Verdun borough will learn to vibrate to the rhythm of basketball during the season, from May to August. The team will play 10 matches at the Auditorium. These will take on the appearance of unique events.

Basketball is aimed at a totally different clientele, which is an advantage in itself. We are not worried. I believe the fans will come to the Auditorium for entertainment and stay for the game, ”she said.

This is only the start of a new adventure.

Important issues

The general manager of the Quebec Basketball Federation, Daniel Grimard, sees positively the arrival of a professional club in Montreal. But at the same time, he reminds us of the challenges that he will have to take up.

It is undeniable, basketball is in the midst of a growth phase both in the province and across the country. Nevertheless, any new team faces its share of pitfalls.

According to Grimard, its success will be complete if it manages to establish itself well in its community, if it attracts the attention of both supporters and the media and if it fills the stands.

“When the team will play at home in a period when sports news is quieter in Montreal, we will have to hear about it,” he insisted. If the product on the court is good and people see the excitement, they will go to the team. “

A showcase for young people

In his opinion, this new team that will play in the Canadian Elite Basketball League (LCEB) has what it takes to compete with CF Montreal and the Alouettes on the Montreal sports scene.

And he is ready to do anything to contribute to success, whether it is through promotion, networking or sharing knowledge of the field. He has already worked with Vice-President Annie Larouche.

“It’s a great showcase for our sport. Every time there have been big basketball events in Montreal, we have seen the enthusiasm. So everything is achievable. “

The establishment of a professional team in Quebec will also allow the youngest to dream of one day reaching a professional league.

The LCEB model is unique. It is an entirely Canadian product of which eight of the nine teams are owned by a single shareholder.

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