The Southern Huskies are expanding their basketball presence, with yesterday’s announcement on their new team for the Victorian-managed Senior Elite League (official name yet to be announced) for the inaugural season in 2019.
The Huskies’ latest team, named the Hobart Huskies, is the basketball group’s latest venture to help ensure a development pathway for Tasmanian basketball, and joins existing Tasmanian teams, the North-West Tasmania Thunder men and the Launceston Tornadoes women in the new league.
In a Facebook post published today, the Huskies confirmed that the Hobart Chargers had withdrawn their application to play in the Senior Elite league due to existing disputes between Basketball Tasmania and the Chargers, which meant an obvious developmental gap for 2019, that might have not returned.
“We couldn’t simply stand by and have the possibility of second-tier high performance basketball not being played for a year in the south of the state,” Sutton said. “When the invitation from BTAS arrived we met with a number of key stakeholders in the southern Tasmanian basketball community to ensure buy-in and viability. After careful consideration we couldn’t turn down the opportunity to ensure that development of basketball in the state would continue.”
Like all other entrants, the Huskies will be given a twelve-month grace period to work through areas of resolution, to meet criteria specified by the league.
The Senior Elite League, which is managed by Basketball Victoria, will help to cement the pathway of both men’s and women’s basketball in the state and gives opportunity for fans to watch games outside of the Sal’s NBL (or NZNBL) season, to which the Huskies have committed to earlier.
“The basketball landscape in Tasmania is certainly changing for the better and there was no guarantee that it would be the same in 2020,” Sutton said. “With this addition to our pathway we’re able to help shape that future with the assistance of Basketball Tasmania.”
The Basketball Tasmania (BTAS) Huskies Academy, headed up by Anthony Stewart, will play an important part in the development of players, with the Elite Senior League the first logical step into elite competition before moving on up through the pathway.
The Huskies also confirmed that they will have a women’s team in the league as well.
“We have committed to both men’s and women’s teams and we’ll as continue to focus on the Australian NBL as our ultimate goal,” Sutton said.