A NEW day beckons for the Illawarra Hawks after creditors officially drew the curtain on a tumultuous second chapter of private ownership for the foundation club.
Creditors voted to liquidate Illawarra Hawks Proprietary Limited on the recommendation of administrator Michael Jones, who found the company was $2.4 million in debt, with players and staff owed more than $750,000 in entitlements.
Mr. Jones was appointed on April 2 when former owner Simon Stratford placed the club into voluntary administration, a move that saw the NBL take back the Hawks license.
The initial report revealed Statford made multiple attempts to sell the club in the months prior to placing it into administration but, having sustained "ongoing losses since 2016," he was unable to find a buyer.
The arrival of NBA Draft prospect LaMelo Ball last season saw an initial spike in revenue but, having lost more than $1.6 million over the previous two years, it wasn't enough to pull the club out of a deep financial hole.
Other debts include more than $500,000 owed to the ATO while Stratford, the largest unsecured creditor, is owed almost $1.5 million in unsecured claims.
The NBL has guaranteed to meet all player entitlements - which make up the bulk of the money owed to former employees - but terminated coaching and corporate staff face an uphill battle to recoup what they're owed.
Liquidation will see the end of the company first established by former owner James Spenceley in April 2015 a month after he placed the former Wollongong Hawks into voluntary administration.
It came just a year into Spenceley's ownership of the club, which followed several years of the club being run under a "community ownership" model.
Stratford came on board as a minority partner in March 2017 and became sole director when Spenceley relinquished his stake in the club in December of that year.
The liquidation process will also further scrutinise suggestions in Jones' report that the company "may have traded whilst insolvent from 30 June 2018 and perhaps an earlier date."
The NBL license, and Hawks intellectual property, is now set to be transferred to a new entity with the league still considering a number of bids for ownership of the club.
"The NBL is committed to the Hawks remaining in the league and we are continuing talk to a number of interested parties to find the next owners of the club," the league said in a statement.
A bid involving the Ball family and Illawarra businessman Tory Lavalle has been strongly tipped to take over the license before it emerged last week that negotiations had hit a road block.
Former general manager Mat Campbell remains employed by the NBL as interim general manager but the club remains without an owner, coach or player signed six week out from free agency which opens on July 1.