MWBA - Maritime Womens Basketball Association

Some Great MWBA History Bits!

As the Maritime Women’s Basketball Association prepares for its Legacy Cup championship this weekend at TD Station in Saint John, plenty of memories for a league in only its second year of existence has unfolded.

From a different logo, a different name and plenty of stops and starts, the MWBA has featured six teams with plenty of talent, plenty of stories and much more.

The MWBA thought it would be fun to go into the desk drawer and let you in on some little-known facts:

  • The league was initially pencilled in as Atlantic Canadian Basketball Association, but switched to Maritime Women’s Basketball Association as pictures became clearer of which locations would land teams.
  • The original logos were designed by Michael Carter Design, who also designed the Fredericton Freeze and Halifax Hornets’ logos. Steve Boulter of TRL Productions designed the end logo.
  • Halifax Thunder was always its name, coming from a long and storied youth program before launching an MWBA entry that has had a number of alumni from youth teams.
  • The Hornets were originally named the Sirens.
  • Fredericton options included Heat, ThunderCats and RiverCats before going with the Freeze.
  • Moncton was always going to wear some combination of Toronto Raptors’ colours, considering its general manager Shannon Parlee is a huge fan of the NBA team.
  • Windsor was originally launched as the Stars before moving to the Edge.
  • It was clear the Fog was always going to have Port City in its name to honour Saint John’s past, but one nickname considered was the Phantoms in the very beginning.
  • Parlee and Fredericton general manager, Brad Janes, had plans for a New Brunswick league almost six years ago that would have had teams in Riverview and New Brunswick’s capital city. The proposed league never got off the ground without a team in Saint John, Miramichi and Woodstock.
  • There were initially 10 locations contacted to consider forming what would become the MWBA. Those included two teams in Fredericton, Wolfville, NS, Moncton, Saint John, Woodstock, Sussex, two teams in Halifax, Truro and Charlottetown.
  • Fredericton businessman Michael Lavigne was initially approached to be a potential commissioner candidate, bringing an extensive sporting and marketing background.
  • Commissioner Tasia McKenna has steered the league through COVID challenges and plenty of other obstacles through two seasons of action and almost 15 months of start-up prior to that.
  • The league had considered a longer regular season, but COVID’s presence in the winter of 2022 created a different thought process that led to tournament sessions that have been held each season with all six teams gathering under one roof.
  • Hornets co-general manager and head coach Mark Forward certainly liked Moncton’s nickname choice. He is head coach of perennial Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association’s Mount St. Vincent. It’s nickname? The Mystics.
  • The first-ever MWBA game was played Saturday, May 12, at Leo Hayes High School in Fredericton. The opening game featured the Mystics and Thunder. The opening tip was between Abby Miller of Moncton and Thunder’s Abbey Duinker. Duinker won the first possession after referee Jen Lloyd ignited the toss.
  • Karissa Kajorinne started her MWBA career with Windsor Edge before moving to Thunder this season. The Ontario product became the first league player to sign a professional contract when she inked a deal with Olivais in Portugal, where she spent the 2022-23 season.
  • Only two original head coaches remain in the MWBA and that’s Port City’s Madeline Belding and Thunder’s Parker Regan. Other coaches last year were Greg Gould of Moncton, Fredericton’s John Hickey, Windsor’s Lonnie States and Hornets’ John Tramble.
  • The first Legacy Cup was played at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax.
  • The Legacy Cup was donated by Basketball New Brunswick.
  • The first hoop was scored by Maddie Greatorex of the Mystics against Thunder.
  • The first league MVP was Haley McDonald of the Thunder.
  • First Legacy Cup tournament MVP Jalynn Skeir of the Hornets.
  • The Legacy Cup was named after receiving over 25 submissions from fans. All of the names were tied to a legacy. Instead of naming the trophy after one person or team, the MWBA named it in a way that everyone could feel represented, thus the Legacy Cup.
  • The Halifax Hornets were the first Legacy Cup champions at Saint Mary’s University.
  • Every game has been live streamed with Maritime Athletic Profile or Aurora Production.
  • Every board member, team owner, coach, and player are volunteers.
  • It’s the first women’s basketball league in Canada to play in multiple provinces (aside from university/ college).
  • The first player to sign up in the Expression of Interest Portal was Ellen Hatt, who was also working with Sport & Entertainment Atlantic leading to an MWB partnership with the Halifax-based promotional company.
  • A 30-second promotional video released January 2021 was lightning in a bottle.
  • Executive board is majority women including Lezlie States, Cindy Levesque, and Tasia McKenna.
  • Canada Basketball has supported 12 women to complete coaching certification programs.
  • The league has received community, provincial and national coverage over the past two years.
  • Every game of the inaugural season was given a standing ovation.
  • The Fog had a live band for 2022 season from Harbour View High School.
  • MWBA commissioner, Tasia McKenna, met with WNBA commissioner, Cathy Englehart at the first ever WNBA game in Canada.
  • There are four daughters involved in the league who’s mothers played on either the 1980 NB or 1982 NS senior women’s teams that won Canadian championships including: Kaylee Kilpatrick – Fog (Mom Cathy Maxwell-Kilpatrick), Chelsea Slawter-Wright – Edge (Mom Debbie Wright), Katie Ross – Thunder (Jill Tasker); and Tasia McKenna – Commissioner (Liz McKenna).
  • The Hornets and Mystics both had their original uniforms destroyed in a production warehouse fire in 2022.
  • Garrison Brewery out of Halifax brewed an MWBA beer in 2022 called Court Side. And it was delicious.