8 Teams for NBL Canada
Five more markets are now set to be part of Canada’s professional basketball league. Prince Edward Island, Barrie, Kingston, Oshawa and London plan on joining former Premier Basketball League teams from Halifax, Saint John, and Quebec for the inaugural National Basketball League season tipping off next fall.
“I am so thrilled at the level of interest we are receiving,” said Interim League President & CEO, Andre Levingston. “Players and fans across the country are getting really excited about this new national league that is growing the sport in Canada,”
These five markets met the June 15th deadline for submitting deposit cheques and letters of intent to join the league for the upcoming season. They will still go through a rigorous approval process to establish the viability of each organization, so this is not completely finalized, but is certinaly a positive indication.
The franchises are currently in high-level negotiations to secure lease agreements with facilities in each of their home cities. Levingston and other league officials have travelled to interested markets and had preliminary discussions with facility management groups and municipalities. It will now be up to the prospective ownership groups to finalize the details.
“I am very impressed by the work being done in these markets and with the ownership groups that have made the decision to move forward in the process of bringing professional basketball to their communities,” says Levingston. “The NBL will be second to none in delivering a high quality of thrilling, family entertainment for Canada to enjoy and call its own. This is something we can all be proud of.”
It was beleived that the league would start its frist season in operation with 8-10 teams. Other markets were thought to be inplay, but apparently could not come to an acceptable arrangement by the deadline. Moncton, NB, was a city that was mentioned at the press conference announcing the formation of the league, and had flirted with a Japanese ownership group, that appears to favour trying to establishing a team in Kitchener, ON for the 2012 season.
Prince Edward Island had popped up late as a potential locale, and with the absence of Monction or Fredericton, will allow the league to be divided evenly into an Ontario Division and Eastern Division.
On June 29, an ownership meeting is scheduled to take place in Toronto, Ontario, to discuss the operations and logistics for the upcoming season.
“We are looking forward to our first ownership meeting so we can properly plan for the upcoming season, and make important decisions together as a group,” says Levingston.
If approved these teams will join Halifax, St. John and Quebec in the NBL for the 2011-12 season.
No West Young Man
Establishing franchises west of Ontario was not truly explored at this time. The NBL hopes to one day expand to the West, but would prefer to do so by creating and entire Western Divisional to ease the travel burden on a potentially isolated sole Western franchise.
The plan appears to establish a solid bases of operations in central and eastern Canada, and grow through success.