Wolves Announce Launch of Professional Basketball Franchise

Sudbury Wolves Sports & Entertainment (SWSE) is extremely pleased to announce, together with the National Basketball League of Canada (NBL Canada), the newest expansion franchise to join the league.  This new Northern Ontario Franchise, yet to be named, is owned and operated by the group that includes the Sudbury Wolves and the Sudbury Spartans.

SWSE and the NBL Canada are hopeful to confirm participation in the 2017-18 season as soon as late spring/early summer.  Confirmation is required prior to preparing the season schedule. Both organizations are optimistic that Professional Basketball in Northern Ontario will be begin as early as next winter.

“The expansion and growth of the Sudbury Wolves family is very near and dear to my heart,” said Chairman and Owner, Dario Zulich, “With the Spartans we complement the seasons, with Basketball we complement the facility and we broaden the entertainment options in the market.  We have been watching this league for the past two seasons and we have seen significant growth in the league. The time is now right to bring Professional Basketball into the fold.”

The NBL Canada is currently in the playoff season in their 6th consecutive seasons of operation and has continued to see growth year after year in both franchises, attendance and revenues.

“As the commissioner of the league, we see the opportunity to expand the league from coast to coast and Northern Ontario is a natural launching pad for that to the west, but more important for us is the opportunity to engage a model that maximizes local relationships and the synergies of the current Jr. Hockey main tenants in markets nationally”, said NBL Canada Commissioner David Magley.  Magley’s basketball career extends over 40 years from his playing days in high school through college and into his professional time in the NBA and internationally.  He has coached for more than 20 years and has coached in the NBL.  “We have the opportunity to grow the game, integrate into a wonderful market like Sudbury, smack in the middle of Northeastern Ontario.  The reality of Sudbury is that it is on the door step, the back door step, of one of the biggest markets in North America and it is a beautiful place to live.”

The league currently has 10 teams, 5 in Atlantic Canada that play in the Eastern Conference and 5 that play out of NBLlogoOutlinesouthern Ontario cities in the Central Conference.  Magley Coached the team in Brampton before it moved to Orangeville 2 seasons ago when he took on the challenge of commissioner and growing the league.

“There has been a number of dramatic changes in the Greater Sudbury Sports landscape in the past year and that’s an exciting time for the entire community,” said Andrew Dale, VP Marketing + Development with the Sudbury Wolves and partner of Zulich and Perry Dellelce in the proposed regional entertainment district on the Kingsway known locally at True North Strong.  “We have always focused on a model that hosted 100+ events per year, coupled with big national events to make the Event Centre in our region a success.  We have a very strong basketball community in Greater Sudbury and Northern Ontario, similar to the Football community, tight knit and passionate.  We are excited about basketball because it is an international game for an international mining city!   Basketball offers a dynamic complement to the core institutions like the Wolves and Spartans. Positioned properly with the right mix, our goal is to make this Northern Ontario’s team and see passionate basketball fans join us from all over Northeastern Ontario and Western Quebec.”


For season ticket and pricing inquiries and sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, please contact the Sudbury Wolves office 705 675 3941, or by email at or visit the  Details are being developed and will be communicated in the coming days and weeks.  All inquiries can be made by calling the Sudbury Wolves office.

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About the NBL CANADA

In May 2011, the Halifax Rainmen, the Saint John Mill Rats and the Quebec Kebs came together to form the National Basketball League of Canada. That summer, the London Lightning, Moncton Miracles, Oshawa Power and Summerside Storm joined the league to form the seven markets that would participate in the inaugural season.  On August 21, NBL Canada held its inaugural draft live-streamed from the Rogers Centre by Dome Productions.

NBL Canada’s inaugural 2011-12 regular season ran from October 29 to March 4, with the potential playoff teams battling to the final game. The NBL Canada playoffs began on March 6, 2012 as over 2,000 fans saw the #1 London Lightning narrowly defeat the #4 Saint John Mill Rats 106-105 at Harbour Station.  The NBL Canada Finals shifted back to London where a playoff record crowd of 5,106 screaming fans showed up to rally their Lightning. With the game 78-77, the Lightning used a 21-6 run to never look back and win the Championship, 116-92.

The Windsor Express joined as an expansion club and kicked off the second season with a 111-105 victory over the Halifax Rainmen before a crowd of over 3,000 fans. The league also welcomed the Montreal Jazz to the league as a replacement for the Quebec Kebs.

The league played an expanded 40 game season, followed by the playoffs. Five teams made the playoffs this year, as the defending champion London Lightning joined the Summerside Storm, the Windsor Express, the Saint John Mill Rats and the Moncton Miracles in the postseason. The surprising Express won 11 of their last 13 games to clinch 3rd place while the Miracles won their last 5 in a row to grab 5th place. Moncton improved on a 9-27 first season to 20-20 this year.  In the playoffs, the New Brunswick rivals Mill Rats and Miracles went down to a 3rd and final game in a best of three play-in series. Moncton won their first ever game in Harbour Station, 111-103 in game 3, to advance to the Semis.  Both semis were very competitive down to the end. The defending champion and #1 seed London Lightning won a close fought contest in Moncton 104-98 on March 30th to advance 3 games to 1 to the NBL Canada Finals. In the other series, Summerside and Windsor went down to a 5th and deciding game 5 in Summerside after a thrilling 124-122 double OT win by the Express. In game 5 the Storm emerged with their first ever Final berth 109-013.  Fittingly the #1 and #2 teams set out to do battle in the NBL Canada Finals. The Lightning devended their crown to win their 2nd championship in a row. Marvin Phillips, a longtime NBA Development League player, was named the Finals MVP.

With two new Ontario-based franchises joining the NBL – the Ottawa SkyHawks and the Brampton A’s – the NBL expanded to a league-high nine teams before the start of the third season. Two other franchises found new life in new venues; the Summerside Storm relocated to Charlottetown, P.E.I., while the Oshawa Power moved to the other side of the GTA and became the Mississauga Power.  The two-time defending champion London Lightning set several league attendance records in 2013-14, including the all-time record for a regular-season contest on February 17, 2014 when 7,396 fans packed the Budweiser Gardens to watch London defeat Brampton 114-96.  Windsor and the Island went through the entire seven-game championship final series, with the Storm leading 3-1. But Windsor took Game 5 113-111, and then claimed the next two contests to give the Express comeback series win and the 2014 NBL Canada championship.

As the National Basketball League of Canada reached its fourth season, it also reached new attendance records in its core cities. The London Lightning often reached crowds of 7,000 – 8,000 per game, while the Halifax Rainmen and Windsor Express also enjoyed significant attendance increases.  As the season wore down, the Rainmen completed a ten-game winning streak to finish atop the NBL’s Atlantic Division, while the defending champion Windsor Express reclaimed the Central Division regular season title.  The postseason saw amazing battles between each team, as miracle shots and last-minute buzzer-beaters kept fans on the edge of their seats throughout the playoffs. In the end, the Express claimed their second consecutive NBL Canada title, while their opponents, the Rainmen, finished the season one game short.

The National Basketball League of Canada entered its fifth season during 2015-16 with new franchises and new talent, and finished the year with an amazing barn-burner of a championship finals. New attendance records were set throughout the NBL, including a season-high 6,000 for a Moncton home game, and the London Lightning regularly breaking 8,000 fans for home contests.

New stars for the league included Logan Stutz of the Niagara River Lions who joined in the 2nd year of the new Meridian Centre building.  Stephen Maxwell of the London Lightning claimed the Rookie of the Year award with 18.6 ppg and 11.5 rpg. In Saint John, newcomer Anthony Stover completely obliterated the blocked shots category, scoring 132 blogs (4.0 blocks per game), more than twice the blocks of any other NBL Canada player’s season.

New head coach Hugo Lopez helped guide the Atlantic Division-leading Halifax Hurricanes to a seven-game showdown with the Lightning, and thanks to the talents of Kyle Hunt, Justin Johnson and Clifford Clinkscales, the Hurricanes stopped London’s chance for a third championship by becoming the first Atlantic Division team to win the NBL Canada trophy.

NBL CANADA HASHTAGS FOR 2016-17        –      NBL Canada: #ThePursuit


Cape Breton Highlanders: #FearTheCape

Halifax Hurricanes: #HurricaneForce

Island Storm: #WeBelieve

Moncton Miracles: #GoMiraclesGo KW Saint John Riptide: #BeInTheGame


Titans: #TeamTitans

London Lightning: #GetStruck

Niagara River Lions: #Ready2Roar

Orangeville A’s: #Everyday

Windsor Express: #ExpressNation

The NBL Canada and its teams have been very engaged through a variety of channels including: its games, online broadcasts, television broadcasts, print media, and social media channels.  This was kicked off by the League`s inaugural combine and draft being aired live online to over 6,000 viewers watching from 93 countries.  The league’s social media presence continues to grow daily as we interact with users from around the world each and every day. Currently, through both Facebook and Twitter the league and its teams are directly connected to over 75,000 fans.  The league has received national and international media attention, earning ink in the New York Times, The Globe and Mail, The Boston Globe, ESPN, TSN and CBS Sports, to name a few.

The buzz of the league has even earned the attention of NBA commissioner, David Stern, prompting him to call the league and ask, “just what is going on in Canada?!” The league has also received verbal support and interest from NBA greats such Rick Fox, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, as well as influential Canadians such as George Stroumboulopoulos. The President of the NBA Development League wrote in a congratulatory letter that the “NBA is watching you from afar“.

The inaugural season, over 200,000 fans attended 136 NBL Canada regular and post-season games. All games were live broadcast online to thousands of fans. Five teams had regional broadcast deals with Rogers TV live broadcasting Saint John, Moncton, Oshawa, and London games live throughout Ontario and New Brunswick reaching. Eastlink TV broadcasted Halifax games live to the Province of Nova Scotia. While it took the first 5 season to surpass over 1,000,000 in attendance, NBL Canada is on pace to break through 500,000 fans in attendance this season.

About the Sudbury Wolves Hockey Club

The Sudbury Wolves are a Jr. Hockey team that plays in the Ontario Hockey League, a member of the Canadian Hockey league.  The Sudbury Wolves have played their entire 45 season membership in the OHL in the Sudbury Community Arena, but the Wolves have been leading the hockey scene in the Sudbury region since the early 20th century.  The Wolves boast one of the most productive teams in terms of producing NHL players, captains and leaders at professional levels of hockey.  The club recently changed ownership after 30 years.  In September of 2016, Dario Zulich purchased the team and has since been on a mission to inspire the community.  Most recently welcoming the Sudbury Spartan Football Club into the family.

About the Sudbury Spartans Football Club

In 1952 the Spartans Football team was born in the form of the Sudbury Hardrocks.  in 1967, then Head Coach Sid Forster renamed the team “Spartans.”  League expansion into southern Ontario stirred much excitement and some trepidation among local gridiron fans. The team claims 18 Northern Football Conference (NFC) league championships, a mark unrivalled by any other NFC team.   After a brief 4 season suspension of operations, the team rejoined the NFC in 2011.  In 2014 team ownership changed to two dedicated volunteers, Bill Costello and Gord Goddard.  In April 2017, Dario Zulich, owner of the Sudbury Wolves extended an offer to include Spartan Football, in the Wolves family and announced the ownership change.  With the support of a thriving football scene, the recently expanded Gladiators organization and successful Joe MacDonald Development league, the club has been operating in the NFC with a renewed sense of enthusiasm and determination to return to glory.

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