Hamilton’s brand new Claudelands Arena will host the NZ Breakers for their first appearance since becoming NBL Champions for the 2010/11 basketball season.
The NZ Breakers with their full playing roster, including Kirk Penney, CJ Bruton, Tom Abercrombie, Dillon Boucher and Mika Vukona, will face-off against Australia’s Wollongong Hawks on Thursday 15th September in a pre-season match that promises to bring Trans Tasman rivalry to the heart of Hamilton.
Claudelands Arena’s unique shape will bring the game up close and personal for fans and this, along with the region having a strong basketball culture, was a key draw-card for Breakers General Manager Richard Clarke who said "The Breakers have strong links to the Hamilton region and the basketball community in the Waikato, through our previous owners but also in our current playing roster with Alex Pledger, Tom Abercrombie and BJ Anthony all playing for the Waikato Pistons with NZ Breakers Assistant Coach Dean Vickerman at the helm. When the opportunity came up to bring a pre-season game to Hamilton, it was one we jumped at, all the more so given we are helping to launch a fantastic new venue at Claudelands Arena, something that will I'm sure see basketball continue to grow and prosper in the region. We will be bringing our entire roster - this is not a case of ‘the reserves’ coming to town - and the tour forms an important part of our pre-season as we will have all players back from international duty and our imports will be signed and in town. The Hawks too are a formidable opposition so I'm sure Coach Lemanis will be looking for a strong hit out just weeks out from the start to the season. Families and fans would be advised to book their tickets early, this will be a great fun night and a chance to take iiNet Championship quality basketball on the road to a new and I'm sure excited audience in a great venue."
Claudelands Director of Business Development & Marketing Murray Jeffrey said “The arena space is incredibly flexible and it will be great to see it operating for professional basketball as well as it has for live music shows and conferences. We are sure Hamilton would love to host more professional games and strong ticket sales for this match will encourage more tours so we are issuing a challenge to all Hamilton sports fans – get your tickets now and be part of the team to welcome one of NZ’s finest sports teams Hamilton!”
The Breakers match will be the first in a series of international games held in Hamilton that week with the Rugby World Cup All Blacks verses Japan semi-final the following day (Friday 16th September) at Waikato Stadium and Wales verses Samoa on Sunday 18 September. Also playing same weekend are competing NZ musicians who will battle for supremacy in the Smokefree Rockquest Finals at Claudelands Arena on Saturday 17th September.