Toronto honours its roots

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:59 AM ET

The Raptors wore uniforms last night to honour the Toronto Huskies, the local team that played in the first ever Basketball Association of America game on Nov. 1, 1946.

The BAA was the forerunner of the NBA. And though the Huskies folded after just one season, the Raptors franchise has kept the history alive, including a visit to last night's game at the Air Canada Centre by Gino Sovran, one of the original Huskies.

The Windsor native signed with the Huskies two weeks into the season, while taking a quarter off from his engineering studies at university. He appeared in all of six games. Sadly, Sovran, who now lives in the Detroit area, believes he is the last living player from that team.

He was one of two Canadians on the Huskies, along with fellow Windsor native Hank Biasatti, who also played first base in the major leagues in 1949 for the Philadelphia Athletics. Biasatti died in 1996.

"The team was primarily people from New York City. The coach was a guy named Ed Sadowski who had been playing professional basketball for a number of years and he just rounded up his buddies in New York and that essentially was the team," said Sovran, who turns 85 next week.

Sovran said the Huskies paid him $550 a month, which paid his university tuition and he ended up working in the research department for General Motors.


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