JARRYD MCGUANE THE ADVOCATE North-West Thunder chairman Tony Barker says the club could finally start preparing for the upcoming season after getting guarantees surrounding the fixturing of their home games in the new Senior Elite League.
In a meeting with Basketball Victoria, league officials and club representatives on Saturday, all 18 clubs were taken through the expectations of the league for the 22-game and 15-round season.
Barker said it was following the meeting that the Thunder and their co-licensee Launceston Tornadoes were made aware that concessions would be made to help the two teams make the leap in to the league.
“After the meeting, the Tasmanian clubs had a sit down with the league’s general manager Dean Anglin and Basketball Victoria’s CEO Nick Honey and the wash up was that over a period of time, the expectation would be for the Thunder and Tornadoes will operate as one organisation,” Barker said.
“In terms of game presentation in terms of double-headers as stated in the expectations of the league.
“There will be a transition time to get to that point and it gives us the opportunity to get on with our season.
“Hopefully we will have draft fixture later this week that we will expect to include a few double-headers, but most of our home games will be on the Coast.”
Barker said Saturday’s meeting has put his mind at ease and he was looking forward to what the league could look like next year.
“The product that was presented to us on Saturday was pretty exciting, there has been some heartache over the last few weeks, but I think we have got some good things to look forward to.
“What has been guaranteed is that the Tornadoes and us will have enough home games to give enough of an income stream to be able to operate.”
The confirmation of the location of their home games will now give Sam Armstrong the ability to start to shaping his squad.
Barker said it was hard for Armstrong to make promises before the Thunder’s future was confirmed.
“It has been a real hurdle for us for the past month or so, but now we know the league exists and we have a place in it, it always us to start building our team for the season.”
The Thunder’s pre-season begins at Ulverstone Basketball Stadium on Thursday at 6.30pm with an open invitation to NWBU players interested in taking part.