If you listen to Noel Moffatt, the local who signed a contract with the St. John’s Edge this week, the casual sports fans will probably enjoy what the National Basketball League of Canada has to offer from the city’s first pro hoops franchise.
“It’s a very fast-paced and high-flying brand of basketball,” Moffatt said. “There are a lot of dunks and alley-oops.
“It’s an exciting brand of basketball.”
Moffatt, 24, is from St. John’s, and grew up playing hockey — his first love — and basketball. He started to concentrate on hoops at Gonzaga high school, and played five years at Memorial University.
He’s got an idea about the NBL, after spending the 2016 season with the Windsor, Ont. Express. Moffatt didn’t play a lot, but gained an understanding of the 10-team circuit.
“It’s probably not for everybody,” he said. “It’s not like the European game in that it’s not as skilled as the top leagues over there.
“But there are way more better athletes in the NBL. A lot of the game is played above the rim in this league. These guys are very athletic.”
That should be good news to a curious crowd, many of whom will be watching top-flight basketball for the first time. They will not want to be sitting through a defensive struggle all night.
Nobody asked, but …
How bad is it in Montreal when one of the storylines — aside from the fact the Canadiens are awful — is the undersized defenceman just out of junior, Victor Mete. Mete’s got skill, but he’s not Ray Bourque. So far, he’s not even shown to be Greg Hawgood. The Detroit Red Wings, as bad as they are, have no room on their roster for Joey Hicketts, a smallish ex-world junior guy and former WHL star … Teddy Purcell had 1.2 million reasons to head to Russia this week and join Avangard Omsk. That probably pays for the new house he just purchased in Hermosa Beach, California. A lot of current and former Los Angeles Kings live in Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach, and Purcell has a lot of friends in the area. He’s still renting his condo in Tampa to Lightning players … Pro sports is a strange business. This was supposed to be a bit of a rebuilding year for the New York Yankees, who introduced a lot of youngsters into the lineup. Instead, the Yanks rose above expectations, and came within a game of the World Series. And what does manager Joe Girardi get for his efforts? Kicked to the curb … If the Montreal Canadiens elect to get rid of Marc Bergevin, the team can’t be concerned about getting a French-speaking general manager. At this stage of the game for the Habs, it shouldn’t matter if the GM speaks Japanese, so long as he can ice a winning team, or at something that can compete a bit … If Purcell gets into game shape quickly, think he should be considered for a spot on Canada’s Olympic team? … Before The Masters got under way in Lloydminster, Sask., Brad Gushue and his curling teammates bolted St. John’s for Edmonton to get some practice in. That’s because the ice had been late going on at the St. John’s Curling Club. On top of that, there were a few glitches with the brand new ice plant just installed. It’s all good now, though … Which reminds me: please, please, please, Newfoundland and Labrador Curling Association, you’ve got a wad of cash thanks to the 2017 Tim Hortons Brier, and a chance to really grow the game in the province. Make it happen. Get a strategic plan in place. Help make our curlers better, and introduce new ones to the game. Don’t let what occurred in 2006 happen all over again when Gushue and Co. won Olympic gold, and the provincial curling association did nothing to capitalize on the game’s notoriety … I know he comes off as arrogant, but I just might be one of a handful of people who actually likes Gregg Zaun working as Sportsnet’s baseball analyst … Has anyone noticed Tampa and Vegas have each lost only one NHL game in regulation time this season? … And that the Canadiens, who have 18 goals, have scored only two fewer than the Edmonton Oilers? … Between Volleyfest and its provincial championship weekend, the Newfoundland and Labrador Volleyball Association boasts two of the largest sporting events in the province. Some 170 teams are in St. John’s this weekend for the Beresford Ltd. Volleyfest. The provincial volleyball association has a player registration in the range of 6,600, but NLVA executive director says those numbers do not reflect athletes in Kindergarten to Grade 6. Volleyball is one of the top four sports in the province in terms of registration numbers, with hockey, soccer and basketball … If the National Basketball League of Canada hopes to raise the bar in terms of being a bona fide development league for the top European circuits, or even the NBA, it will at some time have to raise the salary cap limit of $150,000 for a 12-man team in order to attract better players …
Robin Short is The Telegram’s Sports Editor. He can be reached by email firstname.lastname@example.org Follow him on Twitter @TelyRobinShort