Hurricanes To Hit Islands
Wednesday - July 11, 2007
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The Hawaii Hurricanes hope to bring on cool
basketball action, like these ABA teams
There’s one hurricane forecast to definitely hit Hawaii this year. But this one residents will be happy to experience.
The Hawaii Hurricanes, a professional basketball team under the ownership group of Hawaii Basketball Inc., will begin its season in November as part of the American Basketball Association (ABA). This venture will arrive with much more force than what local basketball fans recall the last time a professional basketball team came to town. There are memories of the short-lived ABA team, the Hawaii Mega-Force, which folded after two games in 2005. The biggest difference between the Hawaii Hurricanes and the Hawaii Mega-Force is that the Hawaii Hurricanes have obtained the support of many Hawaii businesses and are striving to become a part of the local community. The importance that is being placed on becoming a part of the community and building business relationships will make the difference in the success of this professional team in Hawaii.
One of the first significant decisions was the assignment of the head coaching position. After interviewing numerous candidates from both Hawaii and the Mainland, Alika Smith was chosen. Smith, a former basketball star at Kalaheo and UH-Manoa, has held assistant coaching positions at both UH-Hilo under Jeff Law as well as UH-Manoa under Riley Wallace. The Hurricanes plan on tapping into Hawaii’s local talent pool of basketball players, including several former UH basketball players as well as numerous players from the Asia-Pacific region. Tryouts will take place on Oahu in August and on the Mainland in late September. Smith also is currently putting together his coaching staff.
Smith’s father, Pete Smith, was well known in the basketball community and founded popular annual basketball camps. One of Alika Smith’s missions is to bring back his father’s camps, and this interest fits in perfectly with the Hurricanes’ vision of reaching out to the community. Children from around the state will have the opportunity to interact with the players and the coaching staff while improving their basketball skills. In addition to basketball camps, the Hawaii Hurricanes plan to be involved in many charity events throughout the state. Each home game will be dedicated to a non-profit organization in the community. Ten percent of the game day proceeds will be donated to the charity. Additionally, tickets will be donated to the charity to bring out fans to cheer on the Hurricanes and support the charity. School-based events are currently in the early stages of planning as well.
Since the announcement of the team, the Hawaii Hurricanes have received strong support from local corporate sponsors. Hawaii-based hotel chain, Aqua Hotels, was recently announced as a corporate sponsor and will provide accommodations for the Hawaii Hurricanes in addition to visiting teams. Hawaii Basketball Inc. is currently finalizing sponsorships with local airlines to provide transportation for teams to travel to and from Hawaii, a level of support the Mega-Force was unable to obtain. Furthermore, numerous local businesses have expressed interest in sponsoring the team at various levels.
This Hawaii ABAteam also has a home. The Neil Blaisdell Arena will be the Hurricanes’home court. The home-opener will take place Nov. 11. Ticket prices are slated to range from $7 to $40, with the majority of seats available for $13 dollars or less and additional discounts for military, seniors and children. It is important to the Hurricanes organization that ticket prices be affordable to allow families to enjoy a professional sporting event. By keeping ticket prices reasonably priced, the team hopes to be more accessible to fans which in turn will encourage a strong community following. The games are purposely scheduled not to conflict with the University of Hawaii basketball games, so all current basketball fans and new ones can witness this exciting brand of basketball.
Tickets sales are expected to begin July 9. For more information, contact the Hawaii Hurricanes at (808) 585-0222 or www.HawaiiHurricanes.com.
Next Week: John Henry Felix, CEO of HMAA
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