SOURCE: Evo Entertainment KK

March 21, 2011 04:30 ET

Tokyo Apache Announces the Suspension of the 2010-2011 Basketball Season for Humanitarian Reasons and That $1,000,000 Will Be Contributed to Earthquake Relief Efforts by the Tokyo Apache and Related Parties

TOKYO--(Marketwire - March 21, 2011) - The management of the Tokyo Apache basketball team ("Tokyo Apache") hereby announces that it decided to suspend the 2010-2011 season effective March 18, 2011. "This is a very unfortunate decision for our organization," said Apache team President Chris Hetherington. "Our players, coaches, staff and management want to continue our quest for a championship. However based on the circumstances and in light of the tremendous hardship in Japan, we feel that the suspension of the season is appropriate so that we can focus on assisting in any way we can with the relief efforts. We are deeply saddened by the tragedy and our hearts and thoughts are with those that are affected."

The Tokyo Apache has decided to suspend operations for the 2010-2011 season for the following humanitarian reasons:

  • While apparently stable, the nuclear reactor at Fukushima power plant still presents risks. The management of the Tokyo Apache has relied on its advisors and information from the US State Department ("The State Department strongly urges U.S. citizens to defer travel to Japan at this time and those in Japan should consider departing." - March 18, 2011) to conclude that it would be in the best interest of its staff to not travel within Japan and allow its foreign nationals and Japanese staff to return to their home cities.
  • Many of the key personnel of the Tokyo Apache wanted to return to their home cities.
  • The Tokyo Apache's main practice gym was converted to an evacuation center for people arriving from Tohuku Area and thus all previously booked practice time was cancelled and the secondary practice gym also cancelled all of the available practice time based on electricity concerns.
  • Potential for planned and unplanned electrical outages, and attendant requests from the national and local governments to reduce electrical use.
  • The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry asked pro sports teams to cooperate in the current crisis by refraining from holding night games in the Kanto and Tohoku regions.
  • Limitations on operational supplies that could be better used by others in need. This includes gasoline used by our team van and bus, and water, ice and food supplies.
  • Cancellation and suspension of activities by other sports organizations.

Instead, the Tokyo Apache organization and staff will join forces with Evolution Capital Management and owner Michael Lerch in funding relief projects and organizations.  The combined group, which will also include former NBA star and former Tokyo Apache head coach Joe Bryant as well as baseball legend Bobby Valentine, will contribute over 1 million US dollars to such projects and, as the situation stabilizes, aim to participate in programs that will help the people that have been devastated by this disaster.

Michael Lerch, the head of Evolution Capital, the parent company for the Tokyo Apache said, "We suspended play to ensure the health and safety of our staff and to not use resources that could be used by others in need right now. We are disappointed that our season may be over but we will support the league as best as we can."

The Tokyo Apache wishes to emphasize that the decision to suspend the remainder of the season is not financially related. Although it has suspended the season, the Tokyo Apache will pay its players and coaches through the end of the previously scheduled season (June 2011) and will honor all of its contractual obligations to its other staff. Moreover, the Tokyo Apache organization remains in good financial condition and will continue to help the League where it can to be successful. For example, the organization will host nearly 75 children and League officials on April 2nd at the Los Angeles Clippers game versus the Oklahoma City Thunder -- covering all expenses and sponsoring a special pre-game experience courtside for the League kids. The Tokyo Apache management is working diligently with business partners and sponsors to mitigate any issues created by the Great Tohuku Quake and is current on all payments to each of its service providers. Lastly, the Tokyo Apache has fully funded its share of the League's emergency relief fund and has made no requests for aid.

If offered the opportunity to do so, the Tokyo Apache would accept an invitation to participate in the playoffs if the situation improved over the coming weeks and the League permitted it.