Two-time NBL Canada Defensive Player of the Year to lead Magic
(Moncton, New Brunswick – July 28, 2017) The Magic has officially signed their first player in team history. Former NBL Canada All-Star and two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Al Stewart, has agreed to play for the expansion team in its inaugural season.
Stewart, a 5’10” point guard, who hails from Chicago, Illinois, is no stranger when it comes to the National Basketball League of Canada. A former member of both the Island Storm and London Lightning, Stewart is second all-time in games played in the NBL Canada, having laced up for 187 contests spanning over the last six seasons. The veteran point guard is also quite familiar with newly acquired Magic Head Coach and GM of Player Operations, Joe Salerno, having played for Salerno for over six seasons, dating all the way back to the 2009-2010 season with the now defunct Vermont Frost Heaves of the Premier Basketball League in the United States.
“Al is a leader, a competitor, and a winner, three characteristics that are vital to an expansion franchise trying to build a solid foundation,” commented Salerno. “He was the first player I contacted once I learned he was not on a protected list. It was a no-brainer; he was the guy we wanted to start building a contender with.”
Stewart, a product of Drake University, an NCAA Division 1 program located in Des Moines, Iowa, was named the NBL Canada’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2011-12, as well as in 2012-13. He currently is still the only player in league history to win the award on two separate occasions. After appearing in three Atlantic Division Finals, and two NBL Canada Finals as a member of the Island Storm, the speedy playmaker finds his name scattered all over the league’s all-time records book, including first all-time in steals (350), second in assists (1,013), ninth in scoring (1,906), and ninth all-time in rebounds (825). The heady point guard says he is excited about the opportunity to join the Magic, and continue working with Salerno.
“I’m looking to bring a winning season to Greater Moncton. Coach and I go way back, and there isn’t another coach in the league I would want to play for. We’ve been close to winning a championship twice before, my goal is to make this the year,” stated Stewart. “It’s exciting. A new team, new city, new fans, everything is new, and I can’t wait to get up there and be part of it all.”
Salerno claims a player like Stewart is a big piece of the puzzle when it comes to putting a competitive team on the court.
“Al brings a presence to the locker room. When he speaks guys tend to listen, and take his lead. He always puts the team first, and has been a vital piece when it comes to team chemistry both on and off the court. We are very fortunate have him as part of our organization this season.”
More announcements about the team are expected in the coming weeks.
About MONCTON MAGIC Headquartered in Moncton, NB, the MONCTON MAGIC is a professional basketball organization that operates under a licensing agreement with the National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC). The team will play its games in a two-conference league with clubs located in the Provinces of Ontario and Atlantic Canada.
The Moncton MAGIC’s new management team ensures a promising future
(Moncton, New Brunswick – July 5, 2017) Things are falling into place for the Moncton MAGIC as they officially announced today who will be filling two of the club’s key leadership positions as part of a new management structure: Joe Salerno will be the Head Coach/General Manager of Player Operations and Mike Storey will be the Vice President of Operations.
Salerno is a veteran to the sport with nine years experience coaching at the professional level. Much acclaimed by NBL Canada, he was named the league’s “Coach of the Year” in 2013 and “All-Star Head Coach” in 2013 and 2014. Most recently, Salerno was head coach of the Island Storm in Charlottetown.
He led the team to four Atlantic Division finals in six years (two of which they won) and they also made two appearances in the national finals. He was also the first coach in the league to reach 100 regular season wins and was named NBL Canada’s all-time winning coach in 2016. As the longest tenured coach in the league’s history, Salerno is highly sought-after.
"I am extremely excited to be joining the MAGIC for their inaugural season in the National Basketball League of Canada. To be able to sign with an expansion franchise and start working from the ground up is something that was very enticing to me. I’ve been coming to the Coliseum for the past six seasons as an away team, and I have seen first-hand how passionate Metro fans are about the game,” said Salerno. “My family and I are thrilled to now be part of this community and we are looking forward to continue to grow the game of basketball not only in the city of Moncton, but the province of New Brunswick.”
As the VP of Operations, Storey will manage and oversee all operations and business strategy execution for the team.
Known as a natural leader with high standards and a reputation for pushing the envelope, Storey has an extensive career background in the technology and software industry. In recent years, he has taken on impressive entrepreneurial endeavors out of the province in multiple business segments. His relationship with Jon Manship, one of three co-owners and president of the MAGIC, started during his nine years at Spielo Gaming International where he eventually held a senior leadership role as Vice President of one of its most successful business units. Storey is integrally competitive likely due to his family roots (his grandfather is Red Storey), which include four CFL Grey Cups, an induction into the CFL, NHL and Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, and an Order of Canada.
“It’s so great to be working with familiar faces on this extremely motivated team. I assure you, there are none better in creating a positive business environment that produces a culture of success and unlimited possibilities,” said Storey. “It is very exciting to be working for such a strong ownership group, and I am thrilled to be back here in Moncton.”
With the makings of an epic leadership team at play, Storey said he is looking forward to working alongside Salerno.
“One of the top critical success factors we discussed, was the hiring of a head coach who would fit well within our culture here at the MAGIC,” continued Storey. “Joe is perfectly aligned with the goals we want to achieve as an organization – both on and off the court. He and I share a competitive desire to win at whatever we do, so I know I will enjoy working with him on a daily basis.”
Both Storey and Salerno agree – the best is yet to come for professional basketball in Greater Moncton. "There is a very loyal NBL Canada fan base in Moncton. These fans and this community deserve a winning team. We will do everything in our power to make that happen, and I couldn't be happier to be part of that,” said Salerno.
Season tickets are now available to purchase at the Moncton Coliseum box office. There is a new seating plan for game days, which includes 52 new prime seats in the lower bowl. All seats are open for purchase on a first come, first served basis.
The team will join the league in time for the 2017/18 regular season. They will call the Moncton Coliseum their home court where they will host the community for all 20 of their home games. The Moncton MAGIC is owned by three prominent business leaders with deep roots in the Moncton region: Jon Manship, David Booth and Jeremy Milburn.
More announcements about the team are expected in the coming weeks.
About MONCTON MAGIC
Headquartered in Moncton, NB, the MONCTON MAGIC is a professional basketball organization that operates under a licensing agreement with the National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC). The team will play its games in a two-conference league with clubs located in the Provinces of Ontario and Atlantic Canada.