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The International Basketball League has announced that the Bellingham Slam, currently in their fifth season in the league, will host the 2012 playoffs July 5, 6 and 8 at Whatcom Pavilion in Bellingham. 

News from the International Basketball League (IBL)
2012 IBL Playoffs to be hosted by Bellingham Slam

Vancouver, Wash.:  The International Basketball League has announced that the Bellingham Slam, currently in their fifth season in the league, will host the 2012 playoffs July 5, 6 and 8 at Whatcom Pavilion in Bellingham.  The home court of the Slam has served them well over the years, many teams, in many years have not been able to win at their house; including the 2011 IBL Champion Vancouver Volcanoes.

The past three years have seen two other great teams become champions, the Los Angeles Lightning in 2009 and the Albany Legends in 2010.  The Slam remembers the 2010 Championship well as they fell to Albany 126-111 at the historic Washington Avenue Armory on that fateful Friday night.  After a competitive first three quarters, the Slam trailed by six points, which was the closest they could get in the fourth quarter as Albany soon built and held a double-digit lead to take the title.

In 2008, it was a different outcome as the Slam took the title that season with a 118-111 upset over the Elkhart Express in a game played on the Slam’s home court of Whatcom Pavilion.  Bellingham will look to do the same in 2012 as they are in the number one spot so far this season and want to give their fans and team home court advantage.

“We are very excited to have to opportunity to bring the Championship Tournament to Bellingham,” commented Slam General Manager Bob Hofstetter.  “Fans who were with us in 2008 remember how exciting the championship game against Elkhart was.  The organization is looking forward to once again showcasing the best the IBL has to offer.”

Last season, the IBL playoffs were hosted by the Vancouver Volcanoes, but they didn`t think they would find themselves in the Championship game.  “We hosted the playoffs in 2011 as we have a good fan base, saw an advantage in not having to travel and had never hosted the event,” shared Bryan Hunter, General Manager and majority owner of the Volcanoes.  “The Volcanoes wanted to provide the experience for the fans and support the economy in our local community.  You always the hope that you will make it to the championship game, but we had no idea it would be at home, and then we won.  It certainly gives you an edge when you have home court advantage, your dancers, fans for your team, getting sleep in your own bed; it felt great.  It was the right decision for our team and we worked hard to provide a good experience for everyone, if we could do it again we would.

“The Slam this year may find themselves in the same situation, there is a strong possibility of them being in the finals,” continued Hunter.  “I believe the players, coaches and most of all the fans will appreciate they are having it there and come out to support the event.  Bellingham runs a good organization, if anything I encourage them to market the playoffs to get more to enjoy the experience.”

When asked how he liked their chances for a repeat going into Bellingham`s house, Hunter stated cautiously, “Our chances are good, but we have internal things to work out with our players; we have never won a game in Bellingham.”

Another team reflecting on their run for the ring is the Edmonton Energy, who lost to the Volcanoes last season 124-116 in the title game.  “Last season we were pleasantly surprised with ourselves and came on at the right time in order to challenge the best teams in the IBL,” explained Energy General Manager Rick Stanley.  “Although we lost the final to Vancouver it was exciting to be there and we felt our team did the things necessary to get there, however we fell short as we got beat up a little inside and the Volcanoes showed their depth and ability to out run us with their athleticism.”

“This season first and foremost we are thrilled that we get to host the re-match next weekend at our house, we know Vancouver is always ready to go, which will be a great tune up going into playoffs.” Stanley said. When asked how he felt about making a run in the IBL Playoffs this season, he shared, “This team has changed by becoming more athletic and shooting around the perimeter, and we have a better work ethic.  As I watched the teams last year we needed to have this and a commitment to tough play, and we are doing this now. That, combined with being there once and tasting it, will allow us to attempt to go back and secure the title this year.  Bellingham is the top team in the IBL currently and we believe the road will go through them, therefore our guys will need to play the best basketball of their lives to win.”

“The IBL appreciates the Bellingham Slam being our host for the 2012 IBL Playoffs.  They are a team with longevity, history and great fans.  It is a hard house for our visiting teams to play in, yet a warm environment where you hear encouragement for any great basketball play,” stated IBL Commissioner Sharleen Graf.  “We expect fans from around the IBL to attend as well as scouts and agents looking at our athletes to take next steps in their career.  The Slam put on a great game day experience and will go the extra mile in partnership with the League Office to ensure an unforgettable weekend which will include IBL Awards such as our Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player and Sixth Man as well as announcing our IBL All-Stars as voted by our teams, media and league officials.  A full list of events will be released soon.”

IBL Playoff Tournament Schedule
Thursday, July 5: First Round Games
Friday, July 6: Semi-Final Games
Sunday, July 8: IBL Championship Game - 5:00pm PST

All games played at Whatcom Pavilion on the campus of Whatcom Community College at 237 West Kellogg Road, Bellingham, WA 98226.

Ticket Information
Tickets for the 2012 IBL Championship Tournament will go on sale Thursday, June 14.  Tournament passes, which will allow access to every game, cost $20 for adults, $16 for students and seniors, and $10 for children 12 and under.  Single day tickets, good for all games on a given day, cost $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors and $5 for children.

Limited quantities of reserved courtside tickets are also available.  Courtside tournament passes cost $40 for sideline seating and $30 for baseline seating.  Single day courtside seats cost $20 for sideline seating and $15 for baseline seating.
 
 
Tickets will be available by calling the Bellingham Slam at (360) 734-SLAM or online at www.bellinghamslam.com.
 
For more information on the teams participating in the IBL Playoffs, visit the league’s website at www.ibl.com.
   

About International Basketball League (IBL)
The International Basketball League (IBL) is a professional men’s basketball league based in Vancouver, Wash., with a spring summer season engaging high level basketball talent. The league is dedicated to fostering international basketball talent and focuses on providing family friendly events as well as moving players to the next level in their careers in international and domestic leagues such as the D-League (NBDL), Basketball Japan League (BJL), Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), Basketball Bundesliga (BBL), and the Portuguese Basketball League (LCB). The IBL is in its eighth year of operation with teams across the United States and Canada. To learn more about the International Basketball League visit: www.ibl.com.

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