The Fredericton Freeze has always had a home city.
Just never a true home court.
That will change in 2024.
The Maritime Women’s Basketball Association entrant will play out of the sparkling Richard J. Currie Center’s Performance Centre on the campus of University of New Brunswick for the majority of its home games next season.
The Currie Center is home to UNB Reds’ basketball and volleyball at the Atlantic University Sport USPORTS level.
Freeze has used three courts during its two seasons in the MWBA including Fredericton High School, Leo Hayes High School and Bliss Carman Middle School.
‘We were looking for some home court stability so our fans and players knew what to expect each game out and could prepare accordingly,’ said Freeze general manager, Brad Janes. ‘We have had tremendous cooperation with UNB athletic director John Richard and director of kinesiology facilities, David Saad. They made it incredibly easy. Playing out of the Currie Center will be a treat for our players, fans and opposition players.’
For Freeze guard Kylee Speedy, the Currie Center is familiar territory.
Her father, Jeff, was the long-time UNB women’s coach before stepping aside this year to assume full-time duties as the Reds’ assistant athletic director.
Kylee Speedy has taken countless shots at the Currie Center and turned a lifelong familiarity of the UNB program into becoming a Reds’ stalwart.
‘When I found out the Freeze will be playing at the RJCC I immediately felt so excited,’ she said. ‘It is such a beautiful, large facility that is perfect for game days. I have spent so many hours in that gym, it’s basically my second home. I couldn’t be happier that we will be playing there.’
The Freeze are part of a six-team MWBA featuring New Brunswick rivals Port City Fog of Saint John and Moncton Mystics along with Nova Scotia’s reigning champion Halifax Thunder, Halifax Hornets and Windsor Edge.
The Currie Center is a busy place with off-season workouts, youth programs, camps and tournaments, but the Freeze and Saad have found open dates to at least provide the framework for scheduling purposes.
Video screens, ample parking and other accessories are a key part of the formula.
‘It’s a big step for our program, but we’re not overextending what the MWBA is all about and trying to play out of an arena that would lose the feel of our product on a local basis,’ said Janes. ‘It will change some of our game day approaches, but not a whole lot thanks to UNB’s commitment.’
‘It will help the Freeze playing on a home court consistently,’ said Speedy. ‘It is always an advantage for the home team in terms of being used to the court, and the rims. There are a lot of current and former Reds who have at one point already had the RJCC for their home gym. The lighting is really good, and the floor is awesome. The facility is so nice, great locker rooms, which makes practices, and game days for both teams a hit. The seats are super comfortable which is important for regular attending fans. This is great news for our team and the MWBA.’
The Freeze is expected to have the seating behind both team benches for MWBA games.
Livestreaming would be from the North Side of the facility along with the broadcasting table.
‘We’d love to open the gym to full capacity, but we are realistic with our fan base and if the need arises to expand seating, well, that would be great news,’ said Janes. ‘Bringing the MWBA product to the Currie Center will raise awareness to the tremendous product on the floor the league has been showcasing for three years.’
Fredericton is anticipating an April training camp and at least two exhibition games outside of the Currie Center.
Information will come on scheduling later in the year.