AUBURN — Maine Red Claws fans will get their first chance to see the newest NBA Development League team when it holds an intrasquad scrimmage at Edward Little High School on Thursday, Nov. 19.

Red Claws president and general manager Jon Jennings announced the
scrimmage at the Androscoggin Chamber of Commerce’s October chamber
breakfast Thursday. Net proceeds from the event will benefit the Edward
Little and Lewiston high school athletic departments.

“This will be the first time that we ever play in public as a franchise,” Jennings said. “This game at Edward Little will be the first time that we’re ever seen publicly.”

Game time is 7 p.m. Tickets will be $5 and will go on sale Monday
through the Edward Little and Lewiston athletic departments as well as
Florian’s Market and Gipper’s Sports Grill on Monday, Oct. 12. Tickets
will also be sold at the annual Lewiston/Edward Little football game at
Walton Field on Oct. 24.

“They offered us the opportunity to come up and do an intrasquad scrimmage and we loved it,” Edward Little athletic director Dan Deshaies said. “It’s going to be a good fundraiser for the athletic departments.”

“It’s really exciting,” Lewiston AD Jason Fuller said. “What makes it even more exciting is it’s the first time the Red Claws are going to play in the state, ever. It’s pretty gracious of them to be able to contribute to us and help our cause.”

Jennings said helping high school athletics and other local organizations around the state is part of the mission of the team, whose principal owners TD Bank Group chairman Bill Ryan, Sr., and his son, Oxford Plains Speedway owner Bill Ryan, Jr.

“There’s a reason why we’re called the Maine Red Claws and not the Portland Red Claws. It’s because we believe we have a responsibility to get ourselves around the state,” he said. “From the beginning of this franchise, the ownership group has made a very strong commitment to make sure this team is not just a basketball team, but also seen as an opportunity to make a difference.”

The scrimmage will be part of a whirlwind schedule for the team,
which is affiliated with the Boston Celtics and Charlotte Bobcats. 

Jennings, who is a former assistant coach for the Celtics, said the
Red Claws will open training camp on Nov. 14. They will play in their
first and only preseason game in Augusta on Nov.
23 and open their inaugural regular season in Sioux Falls, S.D. on Nov. 27. They
open their home schedule on Dec. 4 against Springfield at the Portland
Expo.

“I was telling our coaching staff that with the Celtics we’d have a
couple of weeks of training camp, and our guys I think have nine days,”
Jennings said. “But fortunately for us, many of our players will
hopefully be coming out of NBA training camps, to they’ll be
conditioned.”

The 16-team Development League was founded in 2001 and is the NBA’s first official minor league. The league produced 15 percent of the players on NBA rosters at the end of the 2007-08 season. Current Celtics Bill Walker and J.R. Giddens played last season for the Utah Flash.

The Red Claws have already sold 1,300 season tickets for the 3,100-seat Expo. Individual game tickets are slated to go on sale later this month.


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