Hoop dreams do come true

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Denis Sabouin

Andre and Reina Sabourin's son always wished that he would some day become a force in the world of sports management - but who knew just how quickly that dream would become reality.

Denis Sabourin, 34, a graduate of Ecole secondaire La Citadelle, is part owner of the newest franchise in the National Basketball League of Canada.

The fledgling pro basketball league is in its second season, but Sabourin says there's already a buzz in Ottawa about the addition of the latest sports franchise to take root in the nation's capital.

"The media that showed up for our first press conference...there must have been 40 reporters there," Sabourin said in an interview from his old stomping grounds - the gymnasium at la Citadelle. "We've already had 400 possible names submitted to us for the new team."

Sabourin owns an advertising agency (Xactly Design & Advertising) in Ottawa. It’s through that venture that Sabourin became involved with the NBL.

He was initially approached for advertising and promotion with the team, but decided to invest as an owner, too.

"A dream of mine has always been to be involved in advertising....and sports ownership or the movies," said Sabourin, who started his advertising firm 10 years ago. "I have a passion for this."

The team will play out of Scotiabank Place, which will have the top bowl cordoned off for basketball games.

The basketball team has a signed a partnership with the Ottawa Senators that has allowed the guys on the hard court to attach the Sens brand to their's - creating avenues for marketing.

The NBL has been compared to the NBA the same way Canadian pro football is analogous to the NFL. Sabourin and his partners are hoping basketball fans in Ottawa remain passionate for the team in time for tip off next autumn.

"We want people to come even if you don't like basketball," said Sabourin. "We're not even worried about the team so much. We just want to show how much the people get when they come see us."

The team will include a healthy mix of Canadian content. Naming a coach is tops on the to-do list, as is naming the team. A fan contest will be held to help select a nickname.

For more on the new Ottawa NBL franchise, check out www.basketballottawa.com.

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