The opportunity for Canadians to witness quality basketball this month won’t end with the Toronto Raptors’ quest for the country’s first-ever NBA championship.
“These are historic times for Canadian basketball,” says Canada Basketball president and CEO Glen Grunwald, the former Raptors general manager who was with the team when it joined the NBA in 1995. “I urge everyone to continue to follow basketball’s tremendous rise by tuning in [to the CEBL broadcasts.
“It is a very exciting time for basketball in Canada as the CBC and the CEBL collaborate to showcase all the rich domestic basketball talent this country has to offer and more.”
It’s only fitting that a truly Canadian league partners with a historic Canadian broadcast institution like the CBC.— Canadian Elite Basketball League CEO/commissioner Mike Morreale
The six-team CEBL, which adheres to FIBA rules (including 10-minture quarters) and regulations while serving as a Division 1 league, began play in May in Hamilton, Edmonton, Saskatchewan, Guelph, Ont., Fraser Valley (Abbotsford, B.C.) and St. Catharines, Ont. (Niagara River Lions).
Each club boasts a 10-player roster requiring at least 70 per cent Canadians.
Morreale, a former CFL receiver, transitioned to basketball a few years ago after a chance meeting with Richard Petko, who owned the Niagara River Lions of the National Basketball League.
‘Canadians are hungry for basketball’
Morreale says the CEBL has borrowed from the CFL and Major League Soccer.
“We settled on a structure that we believe can be strong in the short-term and the long-term, with a corporate model similar to the MLS when they started where the league will operate the six territories and really be completely funded,” he notes.
Championship weekend will feature the top four teams, including the host Saskatchewan Rattlers, competing to become the first-ever CEBL champion.
“Canadians are hungry for basketball, and looking ahead to the anticipation for the sport at the 2020 Olympic Games,” says Chris Wilson, interim head of CBC Sports. “CBC Sports is thrilled to be the destination for national coverage of our homegrown professional league.
“This is an essential opportunity for fans of the sport from across the country to follow the journeys of the new generation of pro basketball players as they represent our communities and country as a whole.”
CBC Sports coverage begins June 12 at 7 p.m. ET when the Hamilton Honey Badgers host Niagara River at FirstOntario Centre.