The National Basketball League of Canada is Born

Logo for the newly formed National Basketball League of CanadaCanada is getting its own professional basketball league. Andre Levinston, owner of the Halifax Rainmen franchise, and Ian McCarthy, owner of the Saint John Millrats have founded the National Basketball League of Canada.

“We’re extremely excited to found a league that consists of committed, fiscally responsible owners who will operate their teams with the mandates of providing a high level of entertainment for fans and sponsors, and making a difference in their communities,” said Levingston.

The Rainmen and Millrats will be joined by the other former Premier Basketball League franchise in Canada the Quebec Kebs. Currently five other fracnhises are slated to join the NBL: Moncton, NB; Barrie, ON; Kingston, ON; London, ON; and Oshawa, ON.

The first order of business will be to finalize the franchises that will participate this fall. The five new franchises are still in the process of completing the necessary paperwork, but are considered to be solid bets. All five have met with Livingston and McCarthy and have met with their local municpalities and venue management. They have expressed their interest in letters of intent to join the league and three of the ownership groups were onhand in Halifax for the announcement.

There is a small window for additional franchises to join the league, but they would have to express their interest before June 15 to be considered. Other cities that were hinted as having interest in joining the NBL were Charlottetown, PE; Fredericton, NB; and Kitchener, ON.

Levingston and McCarthy see this as a great opportunity to support and develop basketball in Canada. There will be a Canadian content required on each roster, but that has yet to be determined. The league also plans to approach current CIS basketball players and hold a league draft.

The inaugural season for the NBL will likely kick off this year at the beginning of November and run until February, followed by playoffs in March. The final details of scheduling will be derermined once the franchises have been finalized. There could be upto 10-12 teams in the league this year playing an estimate of 30 games.

The league will likely be divided into two divisions based on geography, but there would be inter-divisional games. For example, as it stand now, you would likely see Halifax, Saint John, Quebec and Moncton form one division while Barrie, Kingston, London and Oshawa would form the other.

Currently, the league is comprised of Eastern and Central Canadian teams, but that could change.

The league has not approached potential ownership groups in Western Canada, but are open to expanding their scope. It was a conscious decision to focus on the existing franchises and adding locations that would make immediate financial and logistcal sense.

According to McCarthy, western expansion might be best considered in a cluster in order to create their own divsion and make travel expenses more reasonable.

You can watch the full announcement at SportStream.ca

PBL now means Previous Basketball League

Levingston and McCarthy both decided to pull out of the Premier Basketball League (PBL) following dissatisfaction over the operation of the league. Their dissatisfaction peaked after the league-commissioner-owned Rochester Razorsharks won the league championship despite numerous complaints about favourable officiating.

To overcome some of the issues that the founding owners experienced in previous leagues, all owners will have stock options in the league and a board formed from representatives from each will choose the league executives.

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