People make use of the new Eastern Maine Sports Academy in Veazie, Feb. 25, 2022. Credit: Sawyer Loftus / BDN

A new basketball and athletic training facility in a Veazie warehouse has taken off in the nearly four months since it opened, and traffic has picked up over the past week during a hot time for Maine high school basketball.

Eastern Maine Sports Academy is now the Bangor-area home for Results Basketball, a training program for youth players from as far south as Augusta and as far north as Presque Isle who make the trek to the Veazie gym weekly. The famed Ace and Cooper Flagg twins of Nokomis Regional High School are among the players who regularly practice there. 

Matt MacKenzie, co-owner of Eastern Maine Sports Academy, stands for a portrait inside the new facility in Veazie, Feb. 25, 2022. Credit: Sawyer Loftus / BDN

The facility on Veazie’s School Street also hosts several recreational basketball leagues, athletes from Bangor Christian Schools compete there, and Brewer High School basketball players use it for practice. During the state’s high school basketball tournament over the past week, teams from all over the state have stopped in to practice in advance of their high-stakes games.

The gym, owned by Matt MacKenzie and Shawn Demaray, has been “packed” since its Nov. 1 opening, said MacKenzie, who runs his part of the Results Basketball training program out of the facility. 

Shawn Demaray of co-owner of Eastern Maine Sports Academy and owner of Queen City Athletics stands for a portrait inside the weight room of the new sports facility in Veazie, Feb. 25, 2022. Credit: Sawyer Loftus / BDN

“It’s been very busy every single day with basketball training, basketball practices and games,” he said. “On top of that, on the performance, turf, and weight room side, we’ve been jam-packed with personal training and group fitness classes daily.” 

The 28,000-square-foot facility has basketball courts, a turf area, a workout facility, a chiropractor’s office, a smoothie shack that will open next week and programming for all age groups, MacKenzie said. 

MacKenzie was previously running Results Basketball at a facility on Target Industrial Circle in Bangor that the program outgrew. MacKenzie wanted to keep the program in the Bangor area, but there weren’t a lot of available buildings in Bangor, he said. 

The inside of the facility in Veazie has been stripped clean of its industrial-warehouse past, except for a few spots, like the large sliding barn-style door that separates the basketball and athletic training sides.

That door had to stay to maintain the charm, MacKenzie said. 

The weight room at the Eastern Maine Sports Academy in Veazie, Feb. 25, 2022. Credit: Sawyer Loftus / BDN

Initially, when MacKenzie and Demaray were looking for a new space, they were only focused on opening a gym, MacKenzie said. But once they got inside their new building, they realized it could be more than that. 

“Once we realized how big of a building we had kind of gotten ourselves into, we knew we wanted to add to what we had to offer,” MacKenzie said. “So the wellness side fits in nicely with what our mission is.”

Demaray, a former all-conference football player at the University of Maine, hosts his business, Queen City Athletics, on the facility’s athletic training side. He said he offers personal training, fitness classes and athletic development while MacKenzie focuses on basketball. 

The facility has quickly become a basketball hotspot, which became especially clear this past week. 

“It’s been a really busy week because a lot of the teams that are visiting the area have come in to do practices because they want a chance to practice on a 94-foot floor, which is comparable to the [Augusta] Civic and Cross centers,” he said. 

On Friday, the Wisdom High School girls basketball team squeezed in a practice at the facility, ahead of its Saturday match against Southern Aroostook at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. 

Members of the Wisdom High School Girls basketball team practice at the Eastern Maine Sports Academy in Veazie, Feb. 25, 2022. Credit: Sawyer Loftus / BDN

MacKenzie and Demaray have been working to develop more structured programs at the facility. A new before- and after-school program is in the works, and the pair are hoping to host more basketball leagues. 

In March, the facility will host the Big Time Hoops All-Star Tournament, which features the best boys and girls high school basketball players from across Maine, MacKenzie said. 

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Sawyer Loftus

Sawyer Loftus is an investigative reporter at the Bangor Daily News. A graduate of the University of Vermont, Sawyer grew up in Vermont where he worked for Vermont Public Radio, The Burlington Free Press...