Hoop league gets huge donationDick Reder Golf Tournament donates $10,000 to 'Friday Night Hoops' league
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
The Friday Night Hoops recreational basketball league is looking forward to a less stressful season thanks to a recent donation from Northwest Beverages.
Last week, Rich Reder, president of Northwest Beverages, presented the league with a check for more than $10,000. The money was raised through the annual Dick Reder Golf Tournament.
Rick Rockwood, one of the league founders, said the donation was badly needed and will be put to good use.
“I was pretty compelled with Rick Rockwood’s story and with the work he’s doing there,” said Rich Reder. “It’s a great program for local kids.”
The Friday Night Hoops league will be entering its ninth season. Rockwood began the league as a place where local high school students could be with friends, have fun and shoot hoops.
The league has grown in popularity, and Rockwood said the Friday night games habitually draw 800 to 1,000 people to the University of Wisconsin-Superior courts. Last year, 21 teams registered to play, with games running from January through March at UWS. The league is open to high school students in Superior, Duluth and the surrounding area.
“I think it’s really neat that the Reder family in general supports not only the school system in Superior but the athletics the way they do,” Rockwood said.
Reder and Northwest Beverages have supported the Friday Night Hoops league and donated all of the league’s posters every year, but Rockwood was surprised when Reder called “out of the blue” to offer a more substantial donation for 2014.
“I thought maybe $4,000 or $5,000, not $10,000,” Rockwood said. “So we rat-holed the money and we’re going to be real careful with it.”
Keeping the league affordable was a priority for Rockwood and other board members.
Thanks to Reder’s donation, the league should be able to keep registration fees the same as last year. The cost to play in the rec league was $75 for early registration and $85 for those who register late.
Without the donation, Rockwood said fees would have gone up about $15.
“And we’ll be able to give more scholarships,” Rockwood said. “We will never turn anybody away. They will play basketball.”
“That’s exactly what we want to accomplish,” Reder said.
A portion of the money will also go toward three new scoreboards for the league. In past years, the rec league paid UWS to rent the scoreboards in Mertz Mortorelli Gym. This year a new cost-saving agreement will allow the league to rent the space without using the scoring system.
“And we’re bringing in our own sound system to save money,” Rockwood said.
The new scoreboards will be available to other basketball organizations in the region too, like the Superior Basketball Association.
“They wanted us to use their scoreboards, but I don’t think the calendar would have allowed it,” Rockwood said. “It was very generous on their part.”
The Friday Night Hoops league is also sponsored by the Superior Rotary and the Boys and Girls Club.
The final calendar for the 2014 season is still being finalized, but Rockwood said Jan. 10 has been tentatively slated as the first night for games. League play runs for eight weeks, followed by three nights of playoffs. Admission for the Friday night games remains free.
For more information on the basketball league, visit www.fridaynighthoops.org.
NOTES: In recent years, the Friday Night Hoops league has made efforts to promote good sportsmanship. Throughout the regular season, teams receive a “sportsmanship rating” for each game. Teams can earn between 1 and 5 points. Any team receiving a 1, the score for unacceptable sportsmanship, is suspended from play until a meeting is scheduled with the league board members.
Sportsmanship ratings also impact league playoffs. Any team with a season sportsmanship average lower than 3.5 is barred from the playoffs.