The move is complete.
There is new geography in the Maritime Women’s Basketball Association.
After two seasons of play in Windsor, NS, the MWBA team known as the Edge is moving to Halifax Regional Municipality, embracing the Dartmouth, Cole Harbour and Preston region.
The re-located franchise will be known as the Lake City 56ers.
There is plenty of history involved with the new name, but general manager Marc Ffrench said the move will create even more rivalries in the six-team league, especially in the Bluenose Province.
‘Windsor was one of the Original Six MWBA franchises, but we have a new home and this will be significant on many levels for our league,’ said Ffrench. ‘It allows the Dartmouth, Cole Harbour and Preston areas to have an MWBA team to support and call their own. Friendly rivalries with the two Halifax franchises will make for intense competition on and off the court.’
Lake City will join reigning MWBA champion Halifax Thunder and Halifax Hornets along with New Brunswick’s Fredericton Freeze, Moncton Mystics and Saint John’s Port City Fog.
The present ownership company, Maverick Sports Management, welcomes OnDaRise Sports and Entertainment as a co-owners and partner of the 56ers.
The name is certainly intriguing and carries plenty of significance in the region.
The City of Dartmouth and its surrounding areas are well-known as the City of Lakes.
‘The organization is focused on becoming the team for the entire region of Dartmouth, Cole Harbour and Preston,’ said Ffrench. ‘It’s a great untapped, strong basketball community-minded market that deserves to have a team of its own. The ownership group feels there are some great partnerships and connections to be made.’
The combined population of the three centres is approximately 120,000.
The nickname carries important connotation.
The year 1956 was critical to Nova Scotia and Canadian history, marking the introduction of the Equal Pay Act with the Fair Employment Practices Act of 1955 were designed to prevent discrimination in the workplace, specifically closing the pay gap between men and women.
Also in 1956, the Hon. Robert Stanfield – namesake of the Stanfield International Airport in Halifax – was elected premier of Nova Scotia and made human rights, particularly for Black Nova Scotians, a priority during his 11 years as provincial leader.
‘We feel our name and the area we are now calling home will remind people of history, and help us all move forward in promoting equality of everyone from many different backgrounds,’ said Ffrench. ‘Aligning our franchise stance of Black Lives Matters with the MWBA pillars will ensure a socially active club, along with an exciting brand of basketball.’
Ffrench will combine forces with OnDaRise Sports and Entertainment’s Colter Simmonds. ‘I’m looking forward to joining the MWBA and working with the entire team we are assembling to build Lake City into a championship organization on the court and in the community,’ said Simmonds. ‘I’m excited, blessed and grateful. Women’s hoops is OnDaRise.’
Lake City will announce its new head coach, team staff, home court, corporate partners and game schedule over the next few weeks and anticipate some great player announcements when the signing period opens in early 2024.
‘We’re planning on building an exciting roster,’ said Ffrench. ‘Our ultimate goal is winning the 2024 MWBA championship.’
The MWBA will open its third season of play next May.
The league is under new leadership with Jen McKenzie taking over as commissioner from Tasia McKenna. Anna Lee LeBlanc is the new vice-commissioner, replacing Lezlie States.
‘We want to thank Windsor and those involved with the Edge during two years of operation,’ said McKenzie. ‘This is an exciting move for the franchise and will create league-wide interest. We look forward to all that comes with preparing for next season. There is a lot happening in the MWBA and there is more news to come this off-season.’