Halifax Rainman: US carpetbagger declares bankruptcy

The Rainmen. Photo: Kristen Lipscombe / Metro

The Rainmen | Kristen Lipscombe / Metro

The Halifax Rainmen were a professional basketball team based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. They played most recently in the Atlantic Division of the National Basketball League of Canada (NBL) and their home games took place at the Scotiabank Centre, formerly known as the Halifax Metro Centre.

Andre Levingston, an American entrepreneur, was the owner of the Rainmen since establishing the team in 2006. A former teacher, he had moved to Toronto from Detroit where he owned a restaurant and a car custom shop with Toronto Raptors player Morris Peterson, also from Michigan.

The team played their first season in the American Basketball Association (ABA). The Daily News, owned by the Montreal-based media and commercial packaging monopoly, GTC Transcontinental Inc., signed on as its media sponsor and official cheerleader. Basketball Canada even signed a “strategic partnership“ with the ABA, giving it credibility in exchange for a vague commitment “to having local representation involved in all Canadian ABA teams.”

In a well-researched and provocative exposé of the ABA written for the Daily News, “The ABA is a league full of holes,” prominent sportscaster and colleague Alex J. Walling warned that “Teams often fail to turn up, pay players a pittance, and disappear without notice.” I don’t recall if the Daily News actually print the article. [1]

In a companion article, I wrote at the time:

Mr Walling has depicted a real dog’s breakfast of competing financial interests. Perhaps the ABA should change its slogan from “our balls bounce higher” to “our cheques always bounce higher.” This self-serving operation is highly predictable because the ABA is a private basketball empire that has expanded into Canada for its own narrow interests. Its aim seems to be to use sport to expand its private capital as much and as fast as possible. This is hardly unique: Wikipedia lists 27 defunct US basketball leagues that have come and gone.

Secondly, why are Canadians once again subject to the prey of such carpet baggers? Private narrow interests inevitably become annexed within the most dominant Empire, which at this time is the United States. US continentalism and other factors have overwhelmed Canadian sport, is wrenching it from its national base, and destroying its connection with the social fibre of the country.

Basketball and sport, like everything else in Canada, needs renewal, and people should demand changes. (“The Crisis in Canadian Basketball,” June 15, 2007).

According to Wikipedia, after becoming “unhappy” with the ABA, Levingston then moved the team to the Premier Basketball League (PBL) for the next three seasons. In 2011, they joined a third league, the NBL Canada as one of the original seven teams. Despite showing success in the four seasons they spent in the Canadian league, making two Finals appearances, the Rainmen filed for bankruptcy in July 2015. The team was coming off a controversial loss in the 2015 NBL Canada Finals against the Windsor Express and forfeited Game 7 after taking part in a pre-game brawl. The Halifax Hurricanes, with a larger ownership group than the Rainmen’s single owner, replaced the Rainmen in NBL Canada for the 2015–16 season.

Rainmen rain – “our cheques always bounce higher” 

From the Halifax Examiner. Morning File, Friday, July 10, 2015

Bankruptcy filings show that the Rainmen owe creditors nearly $700,000, reports the Chronicle Herald:

[Team owner Andre] Levingston listed assets of just $1,002, including $1 for team merchandise and clothing, which originally cost $7,000, and $1,000 for furniture such as computers, TVs, desks and chairs, which originally cost $10,000.

The “intangible asset” of the Rainmen team name is listed at $1.


1. (Postscript) On February 11, 2008, GTC Transcontinental executives made a surprise announcement to staff and readers that The Daily News would cease publication effective immediately, citing declining advertising revenue and circulation subscriptions. The Daily News was replaced with a local version of the free Metro newspaper aimed primarily at commuters. It was subsequently shut down in 2019.

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