Maine Firecrackers Announce Merger with XL Thunder
March 2021, the Maine Firecrackers announced a merger with XL Thunder where both brands would continue to operate. The XL Thunder program will continue in its current teams and serve as the development program. The Maine Firecrackers would continue to operate with one team in each age group and take advantage of the strong brand earned over the past 13 years.
The Maine Firecrackers were established in 2007 and after this class of senior graduates will have in excess of 30 players receive scholarships (starting with the class of 2014). Former Firecracker players have gone on to compete at the following schools: UNH, Boston University, George Washington, Indiana, Fordham, Villanova, Marist, Northeastern, Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard, Colgate, Bentley, Stonehill, St. Anselm, SNHU, UNE, St. Joseph’s, UMF, Bowdoin, Colby, Bates, Williams, Tufts, and Brandeis among many others.
XL Thunder was established in 2015 by British native Abi Davids, who has made a positive impact quickly on travel basketball in Maine. Davids played three years of professional basketball in England and led the University College in London to a National Championship as a coach before moving to Maine.
Benefits to the Firecrackers would be a “home” base and facility , a funnel of future players, and day-to-day management from Abi Davids. Founders Don Briggs and Brian Clement will continue with the program in the capacity of consultants providing support and advice in the following areas:
- On Court instruction with National Teams
- Assist in college recruiting
- Assist with tournament selection and director discussions
- Ongoing Firecracker specific clinics
Benefits to XL Thunder are access to one of the top girls travel basketball programs on the East Coast, Firecracker coaches, relationships with tournament directors, and strong college coach relationships.
Co-Founder Don Briggs said, “we have been approached many times over the past 5 years and this partnership seems like a really good fit – from both a basketball perspective and a shared philosophy for providing access to opportunities for Maine girls. In addition, having a home facility will allow for greater consistency and development throughout the entire program. Establishing a competitive framework within the program creates future growth of competitiveness and skill set development which translates into greater visibility for female athletes in Maine”. Briggs continued, “I have been talking with Abi for some time and what struck me was that he appreciated the history, the sacrifice of those first teams, and what it takes to compete at the level we do. Combining administration and management responsibilities is great, but the basketball experience and opportunity really takes a step forward with this merger.”
Brian Clement (Co-Founder) shared his thoughts about joining the two programs: “This will give greater visibility about our future for our current players, coaches, and parents and allow the Firecracker brand to continue to benefit hard working Maine girls for years to come. It also gives us access to a facility and Abi is someone we felt good about partnering with.”
Abi Davids offered the following: “The Maine Firecrackers have been the benchmark that all programs in Maine (Boys or Girls) have aspired to. The player commitment to compete at the highest levels, the success achieved in National events, and the strong college coach following will bring genuine enthusiasm to our XL Thunder players and parents. This fast tracks what we were trying to build and creates an opportunity for Maine female athletes that truly want a college experience. I have enjoyed getting to know Don and Brian over the last few years and look forward to learning from their experience”.