[phpwiki]Hunter Pirates

Team Info

 Established     2004
 Final Season    2006
 Home Venue      Newcastle Entertainment Centre, Newcastle
 Championships   None

Retired Jerseys

 None

Notable Players

 Aaron Trahair
 Ben Melmeth
 Damon Lowery
 Mike Helms
 Russell Hinder

Club History

The team was once known as the Canberra Cannons, one of the foundation members of the NBL (the others were the Newcastle Falcons, Wollongong Hawks and Brisbane Bullets). At the end of the 2002-03 season, new owners moved the team to Newcastle and renamed the franchise the Hunter Pirates, keeping with the maritime battlers theme. The Pirates new home arena was the 4,658 seat Newcastle Entertainment Centre.

In its first season, 2003-04, the team came last, winning only two games. Initial coach Bruce Palmer was controversially fired partway into the season and was replaced by assistant coach David Simmons.

In 2004-05, former Perth Wildcats, Australian Boomers and Australian Institute of Sport coach Dr. Adrian Hurley was employed as coach. A mostly-retooled team produced much better results, finishing 8th with a 15-17 record. The Pirates made the NBL Playoffs, only to be eliminated by the Brisbane Bullets in the opening round.

Adrian Hurley quit at the end of the 2005-06 season after the Hunter Pirates were beaten by the Cairns Taipans in the playoffs.

The club did have plans in the next few years to move from the Entertainment Centre to a new stadium to be built at the Stockland Supercentre out at Glendale, a suburb of Newcastle but this never eventuated.

The Pirates withdrew from the NBL competition at the end of the 2005/06 season due to financial difficulties and their inability to secure a major sponsor, and the club's NBL licence was put up for sale. It was revealed on NBN News that, in an effort to remain in the competition, the club had considered turning itself into a not-for-profit organisation, thereby able to access various grants.

In the end, the Pirates' licence was sold to a Singapore consortium, and the Singapore Slingers began competing in the 2006-07 season


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