The Belleville Spirits started in 1987 with one team of 15 and 16 year old girls. This original Spirits team, clad in fluorescent orange and ridiculously small (by today’s standards) uniforms, was formed by Paul Gaudet who served as team manager and Mike Kirby as the original coach. Gaudet’s stay with the Spirits was short-lived but Kirby stayed on to become a Spirits lifer.
Throughout the 1990s the Spirits consistently fielded girls’ midget (grade 9, 10) and juvenile (grades 11, 12) teams. It was also during this period that the growth of organized youth basketball in Ontario exploded and, whereas it was once difficult to find enough teams to play against, now every town and city seemed to be represented.
Then around the turn of the century the Spirits added both boys and girls teams of elementary school aged players. Jim Barbeau was the driving force behind the Spirits boys and Erik Anderson was the first to coach girls at the bantam (grade 7, 8) level. Since that time hundreds of boys and girls have donned the Spirits uniform, many starting as young as 10 years old and finishing their Spirits career at the age of 18.