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‘Enormous benefits’

Memorial to be the home of Growlers professional basketball

Campus and Community

By Ryan Howell

There’s a new team on campus!

From left, CEBL commissioner Mike Morreale, President Vianne Timmons and Growlers owner Dean MacDonald following the Nov. 26 announcement.
Photo: Submitted

Memorial University, in partnership with Deacon Sports and Entertainment, announced Nov. 26 that Memorial will be the home of Newfoundland Growlers professional basketball.

The Growlers, an expansion team in the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL), will play a minimum of 10 home games at the Field House beginning May 2022.

“St. John’s and the surrounding area is known to be an outstanding sports community with exceptional fan support,” said Mike Morreale, commissioner and chief executive officer, CEBL. “We’re excited to bring the best pro basketball in Canada outside of the NBA to Newfoundland and Labrador.”

“To have the opportunity to bring professional basketball of world-class calibre to Newfoundland and Labrador to play in front of our tremendous fans is extremely exciting,” added Dean MacDonald, chair, Deacon Sports and Entertainment. “We’re eager to extend the success of our Newfoundland Growlers brand of hockey in the winter to a prestigious pro basketball league in the summer.”

An aerial photo of the Field House on the St. John's campus
Memorial’s Field House on the St. John’s campus is the Newfoundland Growlers basketball team’s new home.
Photo: Submitted

‘Enormous benefits’

“This partnership with Deacon Sports and Entertainment is yet another example of how Memorial University demonstrates our commitment to communities, which is a theme in our new strategic plan, Transforming our Horizons,” said President Vianne Timmons. “What better way to generate excitement on our St. John’s campus during the summer months than to host Newfoundland Growlers professional basketball at the Field House. There are also enormous benefits to our students, including our varsity athletes. I’m thrilled to have the Growlers here, and I can’t wait for opening night!”

As part of the agreement, Deacon will provide a minimum of $75,000 to Memorial Athletics through an annual donation, 50/50 draws and the creation of a booster club involving both corporate and private sponsors.

“Memorial Athletics is very excited to welcome the CEBL and Growlers basketball to Memorial’s campus,” said Dr. Karen Murphy, director, athletics. “This partnership with Deacon Sports and Entertainment will bring tangible benefits for our student-athletes, and the financial contribution will increase the number of financial awards and scholarships we provide to varsity athletes.”

Professional development and student employment

Memorial Athletics will also have the opportunity to participate in numerous skills development sessions, including strength and conditioning training, skills training, coaching training and scrimmage opportunities.

Dr. Murphy believes the opportunity for current Sea-Hawks to train with and learn from professional athletes is “invaluable.”

“These are exciting times.” — Dr. Karen Murphy

In addition to development sessions, one roster position per CEBL season with the Growlers will be reserved for a men’s Sea-Hawks basketball player, either as a graduate player or development player.

A graduate player will be defined as someone who has fulfilled their time with Memorial and will not be returning to varsity sports. This player will be signed to a standard player contract with the Growlers and will become a professional basketball player, while a development player still has varsity athletics eligibility remaining, and will participate in the CEBL season until returning to Memorial.

Discussions regarding work term opportunities across various faculties for Memorial students with the Growlers basketball team will be coming in the months ahead.

Dr. Murphy summed up the atmosphere at today’s news:

“These are exciting times.”

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