The Canadian Elite Basketball League has wrapped up its inaugural season. A year full of surprises, indeed, some good and some not so much. While it’s not the NBA, there is a lot to like about the CEBL, and many things that need to change.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the CEBL, the league is a brand new Canadian Pro Basketball League that hopes to become a high status league that takes on NBA level talent. Essentially wants to be the CFL. The CEBL is founded by former CFL player Mike Moreale who has a history of playing Canadian Pro Sports, a well known Canadian in the Sports industry. Moreale formed this league years ago and his vision finally came to life this May, with the Inaugural Season off to a start.
Just for a little background information. The CEBL is composed of 6 teams. The Niagara River Lions are the original team, which branched off from the struggling NBL (Canada’s other pro league, which dominates the East). The River Lions are based out of Niagara Ontario and has one of the most prominent fan bases due to its pre existence. The league also compliments Niagara with two more teams in Guelph (Nighthawks) and Hamilton (Honey Badgers) Ontario. These three teams make up the “Eastern” Teams. In the west, there’s the Fraser Valley Bandits, Edmonton Stingers and highly loved Saskatchewan Rattlers. These six teams compete for 1 of 4 spots (host city automatically clinches) in the “Championship Weekend” which is a NCAA style single game knockout tournament.
What’s Good About This League
The CEBL is a great idea. In Eastern Canada, the basketball scene is active. Led by the Toronto Raptors, and supported by the 12 NBL teams, and the Raptors 905 G-League team, Eastern Canada has plenty of basketball. Adding a few more teams never hurts. With the addition of Hamilton, Niagara and Guelph, many more fans will be able to experience pro ball. The biggest plus is basketball for Western Canada. Western Canada hasn’t seen a proper basketball team since the Vancouver Grizzlies left the West Coast in the early 2000’s. As someone who watched many games live, I can confirm the attendance in the west coast, is phenomenal. All of the Stingers, Rattlers and Bandits games get a lot of fans in their respective stadiums. The East Coast is flakey. Niagara and Hamilton bring in solid numbers while Guelph was a little behind. Nonetheless, the CEBL is being embraced by Canadians as our own mini NBA.
Canada is not just blindly loving the CEBL. It’s actually pretty good basketball. Many of these players are international stars, NBA hopefuls who’ve come just short, G League players looking for a summer league, or even NBA players. The CEBL has been graced by the likes of Xavier Rathan-Mayes, a former Grizzlies player who covered for an injured Mike Conley last year. The CEBL provides entertaining basketball, which is so important. This isn’t just a bunch of Canadians running up and down the court. This is legit pro ball. The CEBL has done a great job at bringing in elite talent. Some of whom are seeking NBA contracts.
The CEBL was impressive in its first year, it provided so much great basketball for Canadians. Apparently, the league was so successful that it will be expanding this offseason into new Canadian cities, in a quest for Canadian dominance.
What’s Not So Great?
There are a few minor faults, as any brand new league would have. The CEBL is at times disorganized. The league social media is relatively limited, and the media surrounding the league is limited by the league itself. The league hasn’t really embraced the external media as other leagues have and should. Media is a huge part of a successful league, if the CEBL wants to reach a wider audience it should embrace journalists and other media sources that are not directly associated with them a bit more. The CEBL also needs to advertise themselves heavier. Most normal Canadians have never heard of their pro basketball league, which is a problem. Everyone needs to be on board and its up to the CEBL to make that happen. Other than that, I can only really add that the CEBL needs to make their season longer. CEBL fans were sad to see this season go, and have to wait all the way until May to get their beloved league back.
Hopefully the CEBL thrives. Apparently, it will be around for 5 years if it sucks. Obviously it will be longer, the CEBL has taken the nation by storm. I look forward to seeing what new talent and new cities the CEBL adds to its impressive repertoire of successes. STAY STRONG CEBL!!!