With a new calendar year on the horizon comes the debut of a pair of local men’s basketball franchises that will set sail the first weekend of January.
The St. Louis RiverSharks and the Gateway Steam, two squads from the newly-minted Midwest Professional Basketball Association (MPBA), begins seasonal play with a head-to-head match-up on Friday, January 2 at The Family Arena in St. Charles.
Alongside the Missouri-based Steam and RiverSharks, the six-team MPBA fields a quartet of franchises from Illinois: the Chicago Force, the Windy City Groove, the Champaign Fury and the Bloomington Flex.
The inaugural 2015 MPBA regular season, which features weekly contests that compete primarily Thursdays through Sundays, begins the first weekend of January and concludes the first week of April. Home games for both the RiverSharks and the Steam will take place at The Family Arena.
When not facing each other head-to-head, all home events sport double headers with each game featuring one of the locals. Following their inaugural battle on Friday, January 2, both will host MPBA rivals two days later as the RiverSharks face the Bloomington Flex followed by the Steam’s match-up with the Chicago Force.
Founded locally this past summer, the MPBA’s mission is to give players an opportunity to showcase their talents on the hardwood, to promote the sport and provide community outreach in their respective home bases.
“We are going to give all our teams the tools necessary to build a successful operation both on and off the court,” said MPBA Commissioner/Chief Executive Officer C. Edward Schumer recently. “We are committed to providing the opportunity for post-collegiate basketball players to continue the pursuit of their dream to play professional basketball.”
Schumer, a St. Louis native, has plenty of round ball experience in his portfolio. With over 20 years of service in the NCAA as an official for the Big 8 and Missouri Valley Conferences, Schumer has multiple appearances in both NCAA post-season and NIT tournaments.
The Steam and the RiverSharks held a joint tryout earlier this month at Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville and each team’s respective rosters will be solidified as the January 2 dual opener approaches.
The MPBA will provide live, high-definition stream coverage of every team’s contests throughout the 2015 season for free. Fans will be able to access live games and archival coverage via each respective team’s webpage at the MPBA’s official website, www.thempba.com.
2015 ST. LOUIS RIVERSHARKS & GATEWAY STEAM HOME SCHEDULE
All Games Played at The Family Arena, St. Charles (unless otherwise noted).
FRI 1/2/15 St. Louis RiverSharks vs. Gateway Steam
SUN 1/4/15 St. Louis RiverSharks vs. Bloomington Flex & Gateway Steam vs. Chicago Force
SAT 1/24/15 Gateway Steam vs. St. Louis RiverSharks
SUN 1/25/15 Gateway Steam vs. Bloomington Flex & St. Louis RiverSharks vs. Chicago Force
THU 2/5/15 St. Louis RiverSharks vs. Gateway Steam
SAT 2/14/15 Gateway Steam vs. St. Louis RiverSharks (Location TBA)
THU 2/19/15 Gateway Steam vs. Bloomington Flex & St. Louis RiverSharks vs. Windy City Groove
SUN 2/22/15 St. Louis RiverSharks vs. Champaign Swarm & Gateway Steam vs. Chicago Force
THU 2/26/15 St. Louis RiverSharks vs. Bloomington Flex & Gateway Steam vs. Windy City Groove
SUN 3/1/15 Gateway Steam vs. Champaign Swarm & St. Louis Riversharks vs. Windy City Groove
SAT 3/28/15 Gateway Steam vs. Champaign Swarm & St. Louis RiverSharks vs. Chicago Force
For more information on the MPBA, go to thempba.com.
By trade, he is a six-time, regional Emmy Award-winning news videographer/editor for KTVI/KPLR-TV. By hobby, he is a writer for Arch City Media, dating back to February 2014. Emphasis is on featuring and promoting local women's sports, but will cover anything that is not reported by traditional media outlets. Also a contributor to local concert reviews.