Saint John & Halifax Begin Their Maritime Rivalry, Vermont folds
Upcoming Matchup: SAINT JOHN MILL RATS vs. HALIFAX RAINMEN (Saturday, January 29th)
This weekend sparks the beginning of a Maritime rivalry between the Saint John Mill Rats and the Halifax Rainmen. Both teams will play in Halifax on Saturday night at the Halifax Metro Centre at 7:00 PM (Atlantic Standard Time). Halifax holds a 4-2 record while the Mill Rats are currently 2-3 on the season. The matchup of the two teams has been hyped to a be a new rivalry for years to come. The mayors of both cities have even engaged in a friendly wager based on the winner of the season series.
Key Matchup on Saturday night:
Eric Gilchrese (Saint John Mill Rats) vs. Taliek Brown (Halifax Rainmen)
The former Halifax Rainmen guard, Eric Gilchrese, will look to stick it to his former team when the Mill Rats roll into Halifax. Gilchrese has averaged double digit scoring in his last three games but will have his hands full going up against the Rainmen’s leading scorer, Taliek Brown. The crafty Rainmen point guard, has been a consistent threat to opposing teams, getting in the lane and scoring with ease. He leads the PBL in field goal percentage at 70%.
Also, keep an eye on…
Kirk Snyder (Halifax Rainmen) – The former NBA player makes his Halifax debut on Saturday night. Snyder has a ton of talent but has been out of the basketball scene for a couple of years and may be a little rusty in his first Halifax appearance.
This week keeps getting busier for the teams in the PBL. In a surprising announcement, the Vermont Frost Heaves ceased operations on Wednesday, pulling the team out of the PBL due to financial hardship. The long-running minor league franchise that started in the American Basketball Association (ABA) in 2005 and won two ABA championships, could not meet the expenses of the franchise and the ownership group, GO Heaves Inc., decided to remove the team from the Premier Basketball League. The Saint John Mill Rats (fomerly the Manchester Millrats prior to moving to Saint John) were New England rivals with the Frost Heaves, dating back to a period when both teams were in the ABA. The Mill Rats General Manager and President, Ian McCarthy, identified that the league was aware of Vermont’s situation in a Mill Rats press release. “We are saddened by the closure of the Vermont Frost Heaves organization. They had been a solid rival of ours over the past four+ years. We were all aware of the fragile situation that their team was in financially, but as a league we decided to give them a chance due to their history and proximity as a travel partner” said McCarthy.
In turn, the remaining teams of the PBL will be adjusting their schedules to account for the change. The players from the Frost Heaves were assigned to new teams, as the PBL held a dispersal draft for the former Vermont players. The Saint John Mill Rats landed power forward, Ross DeMasi, in the dispersal draft. DeMasi averaged 10 points and 8 rebounds in six games for the Vermont Frost Heaves this season. The Halifax Rainmen selected small forward, Julian Allen. Allen, who is out of Georgia Southern University, was the second leading scorer for the Frost Heaves this season. In order to make room for Allen, Halifax released guard, Tommy Mitchell.
Photo courtesy of the Saint John Mill Rats