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Co-owner Rob Saddagh insists the team is in the city for the long haul
One of the owners of the St. John’s Edge says the team will be “100 per cent” ready and prepared to resume play in the National Basketball League of Canada when it starts up again at the end of this year.
The NBL Canada, in a recent news release issued by deputy commissioner Audley Stephenson, said it will return to play in late December for a 10th season.
In March, COVID-19 wiped out what was left of the 2019-20 season — including the playoffs — with the Edge sitting at 11-9 and second in the Atlantic Division.
“We’re are ready to rock and roll... (Co-owner Irwin Simon) and I are committed. We find our way through everything, and we’re coming back full force.” — Rob Sabbagh
The pandemic and resulting lost season has been financially hard on the NBL Canada, an operation which depends entirely on ticket sales for revenue.
The Edge did manage nine home dates before the postponement, going 6-3 at Mile One Centre.
“If you look at our schedule, we missed 10 scheduled home games, and when you kill off 10 games from your home schedule, it hurts,” said Edge co-owner Rob Sabbagh.
“Much of our travel had been done, and a lot of season-long expenses had been paid. But it’s a hit losing 10 home dates.”
Since the conclusion of the 2018-19 season, when St. John’s reached the league final before losing to the Moncton Magic, and prior to the start of 2019-20, there had been several unpaid bills by the Edge around town, The Telegram reported.
However, Sabbagh, speaking from his Brooklyn, N.Y., car dealership, is adamant the Edge are in St. John’s for the long haul.
“We’re are ready to rock and roll,” he said Wednesday. “In fact, we just had a call today about planning for next year. We are excited.
“Irwin (co-owner Irwin Simon) and I are committed. We find our way through everything, and we’re coming back full force.”
He says they’re not alone.
“I can’t speak for the other teams,” Sabbagh said, “but we have regularly scheduled owners calls and I have to tell you the last two months have been the most enthusiastic I’ve seen yet.
“Everyone in ownership is committed to growing this league, and I look forward to growing this league in the years to come. I think there’s an appetite for the NBL Canada.”
The NBL Canada has eight franchises. Joining the Edge are the Halifax Hurricanes, Moncton Magic, P.E.I. Island Storm, KW Titans, London Lightning, Windsor Express and Sudbury Five.