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Canadian Basketball History: Fiction or Fact

Fiction or Fact? We demystify six important incorrect facts about the history of Canadian basketball.

Canadian basketball history fiction or fact featuring Jay Triano, Leo Rautins, Bob Houbregs, Ron Foxcro
Canadian basketball history fiction or fact featuring Jay Triano, Leo Rautins, Bob Houbregs, Ron Foxcroft - Photo/Illustrations: Edilson J. Silva/BasketballBuzz

The history of sports is laced with inaccuracies.

With that in mind let’s take a look at some of the facts that have been published by national media regarding Canadian basketball…that to the best of my research, may have been incorrect but now correct.

FICTION: The inventor of basketball was Dr. James A. Naismith

FACT:  He never did have the middle initial “A” as attested to by several of the Naismith clan – including one of his daughter’s now passed away – who this writer had talked to in the past.

Theory is that it was a clerical error in a publication and the good Dr. Naismith never went about in correcting it. More on this in a near future article on BasketballBuzz.

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FICTION: Canada has had only two professional basketball teams, with the Vancouver Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors.

FACT: Canada has had 78 teams. Listed below and something you may contribute to!!!

FICTION: Ron Foxcroft was the first Canadian to ever officiate in the NCAA.

FACT: Well there is a gent by the name of Ernest “Ernie” Quigley born March 22, 1880, in New Castle, New Brunswick, not only officiated in the NCAA but is also in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Like Houbregs, he too grew up south of the border but the fact is that he was born a Canadian.

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FICTION: Jay Triano was the first Canadian to coach in the NBA when he joined the Toronto Raptors to coach under Lenny Wilkens, Kevin O’Neill, and Sam Mitchell.

FACT: Nova Scotia’s Ian MacMillan worked for the Houston Rockets in 1978-79 under coaches Tom Nissalke and Del Harris.

FICTION: First Canadian ever drafted in the first round of the National Basketball Association was:

Leo Rautins when the Philadelphia 76ers made Rautins the 1983 17th pick.

FACT:  The Milwaukee Hawks drafted Bob Houbregs, a 1987 inductee into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, in the 1953 first round.

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True, Houbregs left Canada at the age of six, but if we can have players like Rick Fox, who spent much less time in Canada, selected to our national team then Houbregs should get the historical nod.

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Canadian Hank Biasatti, Boston Celtics, and Canadian-born Ernie Vandeweghe are also sometimes credited but were drafted into the Basketball Association of America.

FICTION Canadian media reported that the 2014 NBA Draft was the first ever to have more than three, in this case four, Canadians drafted?

FACT: The 1983 NBA draft had FIVE Canadians

Leo Rautins, Philadelphia 76ers, 17th

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Stewart Granger, Cleveland Cavaliers, 24th

Ron Crevier, Chicago Bulls, 75th

Tony Simms, New York Knicks, 128th

Gerald Kazanowski, Utah Jazz, 146th

Any draft after 1988… Is now referred as the Modern NBA Draft.

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Below is a list of professional basketball teams in Canada.

To our best count there have been an incredible 78 teams!

Some never played a game or changed leagues.

If you have any memorabilia or artifacts pertaining to any of these teams that you would like to donate to the new Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame presently in the works…..please contact me using the contact form.

ABA Canada Revolution (American Basketball Association ABA)

Alberta Dusters (Continental Basketball Association CBA) covered them on a monthly basis with a column in Hoop Scoop in early 1980s’ Featured many future NBA players.

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B.C. Titans (International Basketball League IBL)

Barrie Bandits (Ontario Professional Basketball Association OPBA)

Brampton As (National Basketball League NBL)

Brantford Blaze (ConneXion) (OPBA)

Calgary 88s’ (World Basketball League WBL) covered the WBL inaugural All Star Game in Calgary with 8,000 fans in attendance. The league, unbeknownst to the fans, lowered the hoops for the slam dunk competition

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Calgary Crush (ABA)

Calgary Drillers (ABA)

Calgary Outlaws (National Basketball League NBL)

Cape Breton Breakers (NBL)

Cape Breton Highlanders (NBL)

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Durham Dragons (OPBA)

Edmonton Cheetahs (ABA)

Edmonton Chill (IBL)

Edmonton Energy (IBL)

Edmonton Skyhawks (NBL) they tried to run it like a NBA team. Was in their office when the phone call came that the league was folding

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Edmonton Stingers (Canadian Elite Basketball League CEBL)

Fraser Valley Bandits (CEBL)

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Grande Prairie Cowboys (ABA)…. Never played a game in Grande Prairie. All games were held in Detroit.

Guelph Gladiators (OPBA)

Guelph Nighthawks (CEBL)

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Halifax Rainmen (ABA,, Premiere Basketball League PBL)

Halifax Windjammers (WBL,  NBL)

Hamilton Honey Badgers (CEBL)

Hamilton Rockstars (ABA)

Hamilton Skyhawks (WBL, NBL)

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Island Storm (NBL)

KW (Kitchener) Titans (NBLC)

London Lightning (NBLC)

London Orion (OPBA)

Mississauga Power (NBL)

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Raptors 905 Mississauga (NBA G League)

Moncton Magic (NBL)

Moncton Miracles (NBL)

Montreal Alliance (CEBL)

Montreal Dragons (NBL)

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Montreal Jazz (NBL)

Montreal Matrix (ABA)

Montreal Royals (ABA)

Montreal Sasquatch (PBL)

Niagara Daredevils (ABA)

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Niagara Gamblers (OPBA)

Niagara River Lions (CEBL)

Newfoundland Growlers (CEBL)

Ontario Red Wolves (ABA)

Orangeville A’s (NBL)

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Oshawa Power (NBL)

Ottawa Blackjacks (CEBL)

Ottawa SkyHawks (NBL)

Quebec Kebs (ABA,PBL)

St. John Millrats (PBL)

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St. John Riptide (NBL)

St. John’s Edge (NBL)

Saskatchewan Rattlers (CEBL)

Saskatchewan Storm (WBL) lots of fans. If memory serves me right…one of the Saskatoon teams had something like 10,000 or 11,000 at one home game?

Saskatoon Slam (NBL)

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Saskatchewan Hawks (CBA, IBA)Saskatchewan Storm (NBL)

Scarborough Shooting Stars (CEBL)

Sudbury Five (NBL)

Summerside Storm (NBL)

Toronto Huskies (Basketball Association of America)

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Toronto Lazers (PBL)

Toronto Metro Xpress (OPBA)

Toronto Tornados (CBA)

Vancouver Balloholics (ABA)

Vancouver Dragons (ABA)

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Vancouver Explorers (ABA)

Vancouver Grizzlies (National Basketball Association) May be back?

Vancouver Hornets (Pacific Coast Professional Basketball League) home of Norm Baker who played in the BAA with Chicago Stags…never played in the NBA for Boston Celtics as record books state…they made a mistake as played for teams that started with the Boston name that were opponents for the Harlem Globetrotters

Vancouver Nighthawks (WBL)

Waterloo Revolution (OPBA)

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Windsor Cooper Buses (Midwest Conference) Canada’s first pro hoops team in 1930s’.

Windsor Drive ((OPBA)

Windsor Express (NBL)

Winnipeg Cyclones (IBA)

Winnipeg Thunder (WBA, NBL)

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