Of the 10 teams in the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL), Alliance sold the most tickets last season. Concrete proof that the culture of basketball does exist in the metropolis. And that only asks to bloom.
Posted at 15:34
On average, no less than 2,900 fans (out of a capacity of 3,467) showed up at the Verdun Auditorium during the team’s home games. Game after game, the crowd was attentive, loud, and interested. And this, even if Vincent Lavandier’s squad recorded only 4 wins in 20 games.
It is also a “relieved and reassured” Annie Larouche who spoke to the media on Tuesday morning, during the balance of the team’s first season.
“Since the beginning, people have told us that they are interested and can’t wait to watch basketball. It tells us it was true, argued the vice president of operations. People appeared. Unfortunately we finished in 10me position, but in our last game, when it was certain that we were not going to the playoffs, we were sold. »
Take it for granted: The Alliance will return next season. 45% of the 658 subscriptions in the last week have already been renewed. “We’re back. We can’t wait. We’re going to put everything in place to make the experience even better next year,” added Annie Larouche.
We know that basketball history is painful in Montreal. But Alliance’s success at the box office, which has continued throughout the season, suggests the potential for the team to survive in the long run.
The fans are there and they liked their experience, what they saw. I am convinced that it is a beautiful story that begins a long time ago.
Annie Larouche, Vice President of Operations at Alliance de Montréal
“The best atmosphere in the league”
If there is anyone who has never doubted the power of basketball culture in Montreal, it is Hernst Laroche. At the age of 33 and after nine professional seasons abroad, the Quebecer was playing at home for the first time. From the first games, the manager told the media that Montreal was a basketball city. His speech was the same on Tuesday morning.
“I already knew that,” he said. I wasn’t surprised, but I really appreciated the atmosphere, the support. It was very warm. There is no team that has had that support. »
Kemy Ossé, his co-captain, was in his third season on the Canadian circuit. He previously played for the Saskatchewan Rattlers. Despite the many setbacks, the Montrealer claims to have had the “greatest experience of [sa] basketball career
“Because I played at home. In front of my family, my friends. Surely you heard them during matches, here they were everywhere. It’s a feeling I want for a lot of basketball players,” he said.
“It’s the best environment in the league,” he continued. The times when we had no energy, just having that crowd behind us…it was motivating. »
Head coach Vincent Lavandier also compared the vibrancy of the Montreal crowd to what we found in Europe.
“There is a basketball culture here in Montreal, that’s for sure, acknowledged the Frenchman. You have to develop it because you always have to develop things so that they improve. But I am pleasantly surprised by what is happening outside the Auditorium. I was spending a Sunday night here and right next to it there were about ten people playing. It’s interesting, that’s where we see that there is a culture. »
The Alliance was also visited by NBA players Luguentz Dort and Chris Boucher during the season. “It means they believe in us, it gives us credibility,” said Annie Larouche.
attract more talent
By attracting more fans than any other LECB team, has the Alliance become a more attractive option for talented players? It certainly is, according to general manager Joel Anthony.
“I already talked to a lot of people in the league and they told me it was the best environment,” the former NBA player said.
“I know it’s a place where everyone wants to have a chance to play, both for us and against us. I think it will help when we look for other players. It’s a good situation for us. »
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