Christchurch Cougars

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Christchurch Cougars
Christchurch Cougars logo
League National Basketball League
Founded December 2008
Folded March 2011
History Christchurch Cougars
2009–2010
Arena Cowles Stadium
Location Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand
Team colours Black, white, red, grey
Ownership Amy and Andrew Gardiner
Championships 0

The Christchurch Cougars were a New Zealand basketball team based in Christchurch. The Cougars competed in the National Basketball League (NBL) and played their home games at Cowles Stadium. The Cougars pulled out of the NBL in 2011 after just two seasons following the Christchurch earthquake.

Team history[edit]

In December 2008, in the wake of the Canterbury Rams pulling out of the NBL, the Christchurch Cougars were established to replace the Rams. The franchise was the brainchild of Christchurch basketball couple Amy and Andrew Gardiner.[1]

Andrew Gardiner, a former Tall Black and long-serving national league player who finished his career with Canterbury, was immediately named the Cougars' head coach.[1] The team recruited well with guards Paul Henare and Paora Winitana, and imports Tim Behrendorff and Trenton Wurtz. In their inaugural season, the Cougars recorded a 10–6 record and finished fourth on the ladder. After winning their quarter-final match-up against the Harbour Heat, they faced the Waikato Pistons in the semi-finals, where they were defeated 96–89. Two Cougars players were honoured in 2009, with Henare winning the Dave Taylor Trophy for being the assist champion, and Behrendorff earning All-Star Five honours.

In 2010, the Cougars brought back Jeremy Kench to Christchurch and picked up Aidan Daly, but they failed to make the playoffs as they finished seventh with a 9–9 record.

Following the 2010 season, the Cougars ran into financial issues. In January 2011, the team was kicked out of Cowles Stadium due to unpaid debt to the city council. The Gardiners intended to move their team to a new stadium just being finished in Lincoln on the outskirts of the city.[2] However, following the Christchurch earthquake in February 2011, the Cougars were forced to pull out of the NBL in March. Last-gasp meetings by Amy and Andrew Gardiner attempted to stitch together a rescue package to save the Cougars' season but ultimately the level of financial risk was too great.[3][4][5]

In April 2013, the Cougars were rumoured to be ready to re-enter the NBL within two years.[6] This did not eventuate, and in November 2013, the Canterbury Rams were granted re-entry into the league thanks to the efforts of Christchurch businessman Andrew Harrison.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "New cats clawing for place on basketball court". Stuff.co.nz. 3 December 2008. Retrieved 2 June 2016. 
  2. ^ Longley, Geoff (22 January 2011). "Christchurch Cougars out til stadium debt paid". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2 June 2016. 
  3. ^ "Christchurch Cougars withdraw from NBL". Stuff.co.nz. 7 March 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2016. 
  4. ^ Tutty, Kevin (8 March 2011). "Earthquake ends Christchurch Cougars season". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2 June 2016. 
  5. ^ Longley, Geoff (12 March 2011). "Christchurch Cougars mourn lost season". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2 June 2016. 
  6. ^ Egan, Brendon (20 April 2013). "Combined effort needed to get Cougars in NBL". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2 June 2016. 
  7. ^ Egan, Brendon (9 November 2013). "Canterbury Rams to make NBL return in 2014". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2 June 2016.