Australian basketball team the Southern Huskies will be joining the NZ National Basketball League (NBL) in 2019.
A contract has been signed today agreeing to the Australian team’s entry. Chairman of the NBL board, Iain Potter, has heralded the innovative move.
“We’ve broken new ground with the addition of the Huskies. I believe this is the first time in New Zealand sporting history that an overseas team has joined a New Zealand-owned league. On many occasions we have seen New Zealand teams joining Australian leagues, but not the other way around.”
Huskie’s Chief Executive, Justin Hickey, says he and the Southern Huskies team are very excited to be joining the NBL.
“Hitting the floor in 2019 in a league which has grown into an extremely competitive and commercially viable competition, and one that attracts quality players worldwide, is essential to our future success.
“We're very much looking forward to fuelling the trans-Tasman rivalry and would like to thank Sal's NBL for the opportunity to show what we're made of.”
The 2019 League will see the teams play a home and away series. Every New Zealand team will travel to Hobart to play on one of the Huskies home courts at least once. The Huskies will travel in New Zealand and play every New Zealand team at least once as well. They will play double-headers each time they travel.
As part of the player eligibility rules, all the teams in the League are allowed three imports. All teams in the League, including the Huskies, can have a New Zealander as a non-restricted player. The Huskies can have any Kiwi or Australian as an unrestricted player, unless they have played more than 7.5mins in the Australian NBL in the proceeding season.
The season starts on Thursday 11 April 2019. The draw is yet to be finalised and released.