HISTORY OF THE LAKESHORE MINOR BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
The birth of the Lakeshore Minor Basketball Association (LMBA) coincided with the debut of the Toronto Raptors NBA franchise in the mid 1990’s. In its infancy, the youth league had one division of young adolescent players distributed among 4 teams. Initial financial support from local businesses and service clubs allowed the organizers to provide equipment and uniforms.
Over the course of the first decade, the league began to expand as it drew players from across Northumberland County. The league’s expansion was made possible through the generous support of the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board as divisional play took place at Port Hope High School, as well as Cobourg District Collegiate East and West. Presently, the LMBA conducts all house league games at Cobourg District Collegiate (CCI).
One of the factors that spurred the growth of the LMBA was that it drew upon a considerable pool of highly skilled older teenagers and adults to coach and fill other roles. Many of these people would not customarily have had the opportunity to contribute to a youth basketball programme that existed outside of the school system.
Through the years, the LMBA has drawn upon the leadership of numerous highly qualified and committed individuals that spurred the growth in player registration as well as improvement in programme delivery.
Initial founders and mainstays included Jim Birch, Keith Woods, John Hayden, Tom McIelwain, Tom Cable and Glenn Tozer. During the latter years and up to the present, key longstanding leaders and innovators have included Scott Fraser, Paul Van Laren, Eugene Todd, Will McCrae, and Paul Allen.
Over the course of its existence, the LMBA has achieved numerous significant milestones. In 2002/2003, the LMBA introduced the Lakeshore Lynx, its first Ontario Basketball Association (OBA) Rep team coached by Eugene Todd and Paul Allen. These two coaches guided the 2003/2004 Under 13 team to a provincial championship and repeated their success with the 2007/2008 Under 17 team.
2003 - 04 Lakeshore Lynx Major Bantam Ontario Cup Champions. Front row: Josh Oakman Allen, Charlie Davis, Chris Mullen, Robert Frame, Nick Wilson, Graham Gillies
Back Row: Paul Allen (Coach), Drew Tozer, Steve Holmes, Brad Trumper, Mike Traini, Jon Forget, John Gillies (Assistant Coach/Manager)
While the competitive programme was developing, the LMBA leadership undertook a series of house league initiatives. The expansion of the programme for younger players was possible due to the LMBA providing financial support for the installation of height adjustable baskets and the provision of an electronic scoring table at Cobourg Collegiate East.
Subsequently, the Executive expanded the house league programme to include the Under 10 age group. In 2012/13, the LMBA presided over promotional efforts to draw more girls to the programme.
In recent years, the LMBA established numerous educational sessions for coaches and players including Saturday morning activities and summer camps led by Jesse Young, the former captain of the Canadian Men’s National Team.
In 2019, the LMBA had 3 competitive teams and about 250 players registered in the house league whose ages ranged from 7-17. The growth in registration has been particularly strong in the younger age groups. Looking to the future, the organization has committed to improving upon the retention of female players by offering specific programming aimed to improve their confidence and engagement.
The LMBA is fortunate to have a very enthusiastic base of supportive parents, a dedicated and capable leadership and a skilled pool of eager coaches. The house league also benefits from having carded officials to referee house league games. One of the defining characteristics of the LMBA is the maintenance of its vision and guiding principles. The focus of the programme continues to encourage the learning of the rules, improving physical fitness and of course, having fun playing the game.
The Lakeshore Minor Basketball Association has proudly established itself as one of many impressive youth athletic programmes that currently serve Cobourg and the surrounding area.