One of Bellingham’s most successful teams will not be in action this summer, as the Bellingham Slam announced it will suspend operations for the 2015 season.
The Slam, which has played in the International Basketball League since 2008, found itself without a league after the IBL changed the league’s structure this offseason.
The IBL decided to forgo the traditional league model with teams in a few different cities throughout the Northwest and west coast regions, instead deciding to concentrate operations in Seattle and Portland for Summer Pro-Am leagues in those two cities.
Under this structure, the Slam would have played nearly all of its games in Seattle. The organization decided to not participate in the league for the 2015 season, as its ownership is dedicated to keeping the team in Bellingham, it said in a press release.
The Slam explored several other leagues and playing options to keep the team active in 2015, but didn’t deem any as viable options.
The team is still looking into hosting some exhibition games throughout the spring and summer, but on a more limited basis than participating in a different minor league basketball association, it noted in a press release.
The Slam goes on hiatus following three straight IBL championships and four since joining the league. It is the league’s all-time leader in wins with 115, with 100 of those coming under the leadership of coach Rob Ridnour. Ridnour stepped down as head coach after the 2013 season.
Jacob Stevenson, a guard for the team, played for the Slam in every season of its existence and is the all-time leading scorer for the IBL with 2,934 points.
Tyler Amaya, the team’s head coach following the departure of Ridnour, became the only player in United States minor league basketball history to win separate league championship with the same team as a player, assistant and head coach with the IBL Championship win last season.