A Highly Publicized Decrease in Grizzly Population

It may not seem like professional basketball has much to do with Bute and its Bears, especially a team from Memphis, Tennessee, but without the Bears that roam Bute and the surrounding area of British Columbia the Memphis Grizzlies might play under an entirely different banner.The name Grizzlies actually pays homage to the BC native bear breed, christening the Vancouver franchise when the National Basketball Association expanded to Canada prior to the 1995 season. The Vancouver Grizzlies joined the Toronto Raptors as the first NBA teams to call the Great White North home since Toronto Huskies, also named after a local product of the animal kingdom, back in 1946-47. Originally , the Grizzlies were set to be called the Vancouver Mounties, though due to objections for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, there Grizzlies moniker was chosen as a suitable replacement.Unfortunately, the Grizzly basketball team was unable to sustain life in the Western Canadian climate that real Grizzly bears find so hospitable. Attendance began to dwindle following the NBL Lockout in 1998-1999, and the team’s owners began to lose money. After a proposed deal to sell the team to a St. Louis businessman, which would’ve likely relocated the team to the Midwest, Vancouver fans saw signs of hope when Michael Hensley purchased the team in 2000, promising to make every attempt to keep the team north of the border. Gate draws continued to drop, however, until it was already a foregone conclusion the Grizzlies were on their way out, at which point no string of sellouts could salvage their stay. The took up residence in Memphis in 2001, with far less fellow bears to keep them comfort.

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