IT'S been a bumpy ride at times but Hawks owner Simon Stratford believes the foundation club is on the cusp of an exciting new era, on and off the floor.
Formerly a part-owner, Stratford assumed full custodianship of the club prior to last season after previous majority owner James Spenceley relinquished his controlling share.
The Hawks missed the finals in a season that also proved the last for coach Rob Beveridge, with longtime assistant Matt Flinn stepping into the role this year.
It will also be year number two as general manager for club legend Mat Campbell and Stratford says he's never been more optimistic about the club's future.
"I've always said this not a short-term thing for me, this is a long-term plan," Stratford said.
"There's still a lot to do with setting mindsets in the right direction with where the business needs to go because, at the end of the day, it's got to be a business first.
"Every decision we make is business-driven towards the goals but I'm happy with where it's at."
It's included a look at some his NBL rivals, including reigning champions Perth, as a model for the club's future direction.
"We want to be a force to be reckoned with," he said.
"You look at who's the force in the NBL and that's Perth. They're number one and everyone's chasing them.
"I'm leveraging off the back of what they do right and looking at how they do it. You'd be crazy not to.
"It's what you do in any business. You look at who's got the best business and tailor it to what you need."
Stratford says he equally excited about the direction on the floor, with Flinn taking charge of a youthful roster, with Sunday Dech and Sam Froling joining returning young-guns Emmett Naar and Daniel Grida.
Illawarra junior Angus Glover is returning from a horrific run of injuries, with Todd Blanchfield, Tim Coenraad and AJ Ogilvy filling the other domestic spots on the roster.
"It's Flinny's roster at the end of the day but we're super excited about the young talent we've got," Stratford said.
"There's three pieces of the puzzle left to go and there's some good talent knocking on our door wanting those three [import] spots."
Stratford says he's left the import search largely in the hands of Flinn and assistant coach Eric Cooks but he's confident it will bring some quality talent to the Snakepit.
"It's always extensive, you go worldwide," Stratford said.
"With the technology we have these days you don't have to fly to all parts of the world to find a good import.
"The fact of where we're going as a culture and as a club it's probably the first time in a longtime that they're actually coming to us.
"We're actually fielding calls from NBA quality players that want to come to the club, not just come to the league, but to the club.
"It's still a big net at the moment but Flinny's got the direction he wants to take the team in so him and Cooky are honing in."