MWBA - Maritime Womens Basketball Association

Familiar Face Focuses on Fog

The Port City Fog watched another team hoist the Legacy Cup on its home court last June.

That memory will spark another run at a Maritime Women’s Basketball Association championship bid for the Saint John squad.

Dropping a heartbreaking final game, 102-93, in front of an MWBA record crowd of 1,209 at TD Station to the Halifax Thunder last June was how the season ended, but one person hopes the fire burns hot again for the Fog.

Port City announced Madeline Belding will return as head coach for the 2024 season, set to begin in May.

‘I’m incredibly excited to run it back with the Fog this season,’ said Belding, also an assistant coach with USPORTS University of New Brunswick Reds. ‘We fell just short in the final against a very strong Halifax Thunder team. I know our athletes are ready to take another crack at the Legacy Cup. We are bringing back a strong core of athletes that have been with the Fog since the beginning as well as adding some key pieces that will put us in position to be extremely competitive once again.’

Belding is no stranger to the sidelines.

She started her career as an assistant coach with Basketball New Brunswick’s under-15 girls’ team and has since held assistant coaching positions with University of British Columbia Thunderbirds and University of Windsor Lancers before returning to her home province and joining UNB.

The Sussex product has been with the Fog since its inception and is an enormous fan of the MWBA.

‘I am beyond grateful to be in this position,’ she said. ‘It’s a privilege to be part of this league as it’s something I really believe in and I am so excited to watch it keep growing year to year.’

Working with Paul and Peter Hickey – the former the Fog’s general manager and the latter a Fog assistant coach – has made it easy for Belding.

‘The Hickey brothers have been working tirelessly behind the scenes helping our program continue to grow,’ she said. ‘They have been preparing for the 2024 season but also creating our new Junior Fog spring program that we hope will create an even stronger link between our franchise and the basketball community in southern New Brunswick.’

Belding has continued a long-standing relationship with BNB, one that will continue this summer.

Not only is she the Fog’s head coach, she’s also a juggler.

A juggler of time, that is.

She is head coach of BNB’s under-15 girls’ team, preparing them for Canada Basketball’s championship in St. John’s, NL, this summer. Did we mention she is also helping coach an under-14 girls’ team with UNB’s Junior Reds program?

Belding relishes her time with the younger generation.

‘Coaching Team NB has been a staple of my coaching career thus far and I am always thrilled to be back in the gym with the best athletes in our province,’ she said. ‘I have an incredible staff that will be joining me, both of whom have been honing their coaching skills within our BNB programming and at the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association level.

Belding will be joined by Emily Briggs from Moncton’s Crandall University Chargers and Keira Dyck of Sackville’s Mount Allison University Mounties on the BNB sideline.

Briggs plays in the MWBA, playing for both the Fog and Moncton Mystics.

The veteran coach will intertwine the MWBA with her BNB charges.

‘One of my goals last summer was to create opportunities for our BNB athletes to be in the same spaces as our MWBA teams and I am thrilled that we will be able to provide the same this summer,’ she said. ‘I believe it’s crucially important to show our young athletes that there are opportunities to keep playing competitively in your home province after your post-secondary career has ended. Not only is there a place to play, but there are incredible role models here in NB that they can look up to and someday be for the next generation.’

Belding will be joined by returning assistant coach Emily Thomas on the Fog bench.

Port City is anticipating making further announcements to its staff prior to the season.

The Fog will face MWBA New Brunswick rivals Fredericton Freeze, Moncton Mystics and Miramichi Her-icanes at the McDonald’s Battle at the Border pre-season tournament April 27-28 at St. Stephen High School.

Port City opens its regular season Saturday, May 4, against Miramichi.

A venue and time will be announced shortly.

– Madeline Belding returns for her third season with Port City. (DWinston Photo)