The Canadian Elite Basketball League is planning to play games in less than a month, looking to become the first pro league to return to play in this country.
As long as things go smoothly with Ontario’s phased-in re-opening, seven teams will gather in St. Catharines on July 15 to begin training camps.
Abbotsford’s Fraser Valley Bandits will be joined by league rivals from Ottawa, Hamilton, Edmonton, Guelph, Saskatoon and Niagara (the hosts).
Ten days later, on July 25, they’ll tip off in the CEBL Summer Series, a round-robin competition that will eventually produce a league champion.
Each club will play the other once. The team with the worst record will be bounced from the tournament and the remaining six will be seeded into a bracket. The third and sixth seeds and the fourth and fifth seeds will face each other for the right to advance to semi-finals against the first and second seeded teams.
The tournament culminates with the CEBL championship game Aug. 9.
“The CEBL has been at the forefront of the return-to-play efforts by major sports leagues across Canada, and we’re ecstatic at the prospect of being able to return live professional sports to Canadians,” said Mike Morreale, the league’s commissioner and CEO. “After exhausting all contingencies to get our teams back on the court this summer, a single-site competition, closed to fans but with all games available for free to viewers across the country and internationally, will enable us to again showcase the players who help make Canada the second-leading producer of pro basketball talent in the world.
As Morreale said, there won’t be fans in the stands, but CBC Sports will offer live streams of all games via the free CBC Gem streaming service, cbcsports.ca and the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices. CBC will also broadcast select games.
All seven CEBL teams will be separated from the general public, and the league said strict screening and COVID-19 protocols will be adhered to under the supervision of medical officials. Extensive health and safety measures will be maintained for the participants, including social distancing and other specialized practices designed to limit interactions amongst participants.
More information is available at www.cebl.ca
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