History of SJABO

Prior to 1969 in St. John's when teams played league games, it was the responsibility of the home team's coach or a schools' Physical Education teacher to arrange referees for the games. It was also common to have team coaches officiate games either before or after their own teams played. This was also true in adult leagues where players often served as floor officials before or after their own games.

In 1969, as a response to the growing need for a central, organized body to take responsibility for training of officials and assignment of games, the St. John's Association of Basketball Officials (SJABO) was established. Two principle reasons were identified as the primary purposes for such an organization in the St. John's area:

1 - The number of teams and leagues playing organized basketball created a need for a larger pool of certified officials to "work" the increasing volume of scheduled games in the St. John's area. This can be attributed to the increased popularity of the game in the city due to the new and improving facilities in the area. The Torbay Recreation Center, the city-owned Buckmaster's Circle Gymnasium, the YMCA, and many new school gymnasiums had been built in St. John's and surrounding areas in the 20 years after Confederation.

2 - The effective Management of similar situations in Canada by some of the branches of the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials (IAABO) encouraged the basketball officials in St.John's to follow the lead established by their nearby counterparts in the other Atlantic Provinces.

In 1969 John Emerley was elected as the first President of the SJABO. Harry Power, Bill Redden, Ed Browne & Gord Carew followed in John's footsteps. Each of these individuals took positive steps in leading the association's foundational tasks. An Association Constitution and set of By Laws were created, officiating clinics were organized with game experience for Adults and in 1973, High Schools students were added as the association started to focus on its responsibility to grow the future of the game.

Dr William Redden of Memorial University and Dean Roop achieved certifications in 1969 at the provincial training center in St. John’s. They were evaluated by Mr. Danny Seamen, an evaluator from the IAABO Board in Nova Scotia. Redden recognized the need for more qualified officials and set about preparing four candidates for certification by creating a Basketball Course in 1968 at Memorial for “officiating” that also featured a floor test. Randy Ball, Frank King, Calvin Horwood and John Vielimere were all successful in achieving IAABO “A” ratings in the spring of 1970 at a tournament in Lewisporte. These first six certified officiels went on to become the founders of the Provincial association, “IAABO” Board #117, {The Newfoundland Association of Approved Basketball Officials}, later to become “NABO”. The board came into being on March 14, 1970 with Dean Roop as President, Frank King as Interpreter and Calvin Horwood as Secretary/Treasurer. In the 1971-72 season, the new provincial association developed a constitution, added a Vice-President position to the executive (filled by Frank King) and Randy Ball replaced Calvin as Secretary/Treasurer. SJABO was the only branch at that time.

In 1973, a Memorial University Scholarship for Association members was established. Each year, the SJABO executive identifies qualified candidates who maintain a high standard of academic excellence and who are active as officials in the St. John's area. That same year, an Association handbook named "Black, White and Whistle" was also created.

SJABO continues in its history today as a direct result of the hard work and dedication of those who formed the association's foundation. The work these outstanding individuals started is continued today by dedicated persons, committed to the recruitment and development of new officials who will continue in the footsteps of our founders.

Our association would like to extend its appreciation and thank you to Dr. Bill Redden. The work he began in the early years of SJABO continues to grow each year!