Canadian Elite Basketball League

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Canadian Elite Basketball League
Canadian Elite Basketball League logo.png
Founded25 October 2017; 5 years ago (2017-10-25)[1]
First season2019
ConfederationFIBA Americas
Number of teams10
International cup(s)Basketball Champions
League Americas
Current championsBrampton Honey Badgers
(1st title)
Most championshipsEdmonton Stingers
(2 titles)
CEOMike Morreale
CommissionerMike Morreale
TV partners
2022 CEBL season

The Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) is a men's professional minor league basketball organization. The CEBL was founded in 2017 and began play in 2019 with six teams competing all owned and operated by ownership group Canadian Basketball Ventures.[2]

The league currently consists of ten teams from six different provinces, with four being from Ontario, two from Alberta and one each from the provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Quebec, making the CEBL the largest professional sports league based entirely in Canada. CEBL teams play twenty regular-season games from May to August. The season culminates in the six-team playoffs which include a final four Championship Weekend where the league's champion is crowned.[3]


The Edmonton Stingers holding the CEBL trophy in 2020

The CEBL was first announced in October 2017.[1] Niagara River Lions owner Richard Petko had been dissatisfied with the operations of the National Basketball League of Canada, which he deemed to be a "shoestring business" with no vision. He attempted to persuade the league to hire Mike Morreale, a former Canadian Football League player who, Petko felt, could do better at marketing the league and attracting sponsorship. However, after the NBL declined, Petko and Morreale decided to organize their own league, with Morreale as CEO.[4] The six charter teams were officially unveiled in May 2018, with the River Lions joining five newly-created franchises in Abbotsford which moved to Langley in 2021, Edmonton, Guelph, Hamilton, and Saskatoon.[4]

Morreale stated that the CEBL would emphasize offering a "party wrapped around a basketball game" with "a ton of value for the fans" in order to attract spectators, including outdoor pre-game events, in-arena entertainment, autograph sessions, and other features.[4] The CEBL will, initially, operate as a single entity, with all teams owned by the league under individual general managers. However, the league may spin out its franchises to individual owners, or a single investor, in the future.[4]

In December 2018, the CEBL reached a five-year deal with New Era to be the official apparel provider of the league. The CEBL also reached an official agreement with Canada Basketball for it to be recognized as its first division professional league (in a league system akin to European competition); this endorsement also allows the CEBL access to resources from the governing body. Canada Basketball CEO Glen Grunwald stated that the league would provide an "exciting new product and a further development opportunity for Canadian players, coaches, referees, administrators and management types."[5][6] Due to this agreement, the league plays under the standard FIBA rules.[5]

In January 2019, the CEBL announced a three-year agreement with Spalding to be the official ball of the league.[7]

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 CEBL season was postponed, and conducted as a shortened tournament in a bio-secure bubble behind closed doors, branded as the CEBL Summer Series.[8] Beginning in the 2020 season, the CEBL adopted the Elam Ending—as recently popularized by The Basketball Tournament and the NBA All-Star Game—for all games, under which the game clock is turned off near the end of the fourth quarter, and teams play to a target score to determine the winner.[9]

In the 2021–22 season, the Edmonton Stingers represented Canada in the Basketball Champions League Americas (BCLA).[10]


In November 2019, the Ottawa Blackjacks were announced as the league's first expansion team, and seventh overall, beginning in the 2020 season.[11]

In February 2021, Morreale announced that an expansion team in Montreal would be added no earlier than the 2022 season; due to COVID-19, no new expansion teams were added for the 2021 season.[12] Later in 2021, the Scarborough Shooting Stars,[13] the Montreal Alliance,[14] and the Newfoundland Growlers[15] were all announced as expansion teams for the 2022 season.


Current teams[edit]

Team City Venue Capacity Founded First season Head coach
Brampton Honey Badgers Brampton, Ontario CAA Centre 5,000 2018 2023 Ryan Schmidt
Calgary Surge Calgary, Alberta Winsport Arena 2,900 2018 2023 TBA
Edmonton Stingers Edmonton, Alberta Edmonton Expo Centre 4,857 2018 2019 Jermaine Small
Montreal Alliance Montreal, Quebec Verdun Auditorium 4,114 2021 2022 Vincent Lavandier
Niagara River Lions St. Catharines, Ontario Meridian Centre 4,030 2015 2019 Victor Raso
Ottawa Blackjacks Ottawa, Ontario TD Place Arena 9,500 2019 2020 Charles Dubé-Brais
Saskatchewan Rattlers Saskatoon, Saskatchewan SaskTel Centre lower bowl 5,898 2018 2019 Dean Demopoulos
Scarborough Shooting Stars Scarborough, Ontario Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre 2,000 2021 2022 Chris Exilus
Vancouver Bandits Langley, British Columbia Langley Events Centre 5,276 2017 2019 Mike Taylor
Winnipeg Sea Bears Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada Life Centre 15,321 2022 2023 TBA

Former teams[edit]

Team City Founded First season Last season Defunct Reason
Guelph Nighthawks Guelph, Ontario 2018 2019 2022 2022 Relocated to Calgary after 2022 season
Newfoundland Growlers St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador 2021 2022 2022 2022 Folded after 2022 season
Hamilton Honey Badgers Brampton, Ontario 2018 2019 2022 2022 Relocated to Brampton after 2022 season



Season Champion Runner-up
2019 Saskatchewan Rattlers Hamilton Honey Badgers
2020 Edmonton Stingers Fraser Valley Bandits
2021 Edmonton Stingers Niagara River Lions
2022 Hamilton Honey Badgers Scarborough Shooting Stars



  • Mike Morreale, Chief Executive Officer and Commissioner
  • John Lashway, Executive Vice-President, Strategy and Communications
  • Josh Knoester, Vice-President, League Operations
  • Joe Raso, Director, Basketball Operations



The CEBL's main focus will be on showcasing and developing Canadian talent in basketball:[4] at least 70% of each team's roster must consist of Canadian players.[5] As it will be played over the spring and summer months, the CEBL also sought to attract players wanting to continue developing their game over the traditional offseason period.[4][5][17] Players were expected to be drawn from collegiate alumni (including U Sports and U.S. NCAA basketball), players with experience in other international leagues, as well as members of the Canadian national team.[18][5][19]

The salary cap is $8,000 per team per game.


During the first season, games were primarily streamed on an in-house platform known as; the league stated that it would provide the necessary means for each team to produce "a really good official and professional looking live stream that we can share without any kind of limitations to who can see it." The league considered the possibility of selling television rights to its championship to a traditional broadcaster.[20]

On June 12, 2019, the CEBL announced that CBC Sports would stream all remaining games of the inaugural season on its digital platforms.[21] It subsequently announced in November 2019 that CBC Sports had agreed to a three-year deal, which will also see eight games (seven regular-season games and the championship game) per-season aired on CBC Television.[22]

For the 2020 season, the CEBL also began streaming games on Twitch. On August 7, the CEBL and Mediapro announced new rights deals in the Asia-Pacific and Oceania regions, such as Astro (Malaysia), Fox Sports Australia, SingTel, Sportscast (Taiwan), and TapGo (Philippines).[23]

A feature length documentary about the 2020 "Summer Series", produced by Ward 1 Studios, was broadcast on May 29, 2021 on CBC national television and CBC Gem. [24]


  1. ^ a b "New coast-to-coast Canadian pro basketball league announced". Rogers Media. Retrieved 2019-04-20.
  2. ^ Ewing, Lory (May 2, 2018). "Former CFLer Mike Morreale to head up Canadian Elite Basketball League". The Globe and Mail. The Canadian Press. Retrieved December 21, 2019.
  3. ^ Moddejonge, Gerry (November 27, 2019). "Edmonton Stingers get TV deal, right to host 2020 championship finals". Edmonton Sun. Retrieved December 21, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f McGaughey, Paul (May 15, 2018). "Canadian Elite Basketball League striving to be more than a 'shoestring business'". CBC Sports. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e Milton, Steve (2018-12-06). "CEBL joins Canada Basketball pyramid". The Hamilton Spectator. ISSN 1189-9417. Retrieved 2019-04-20.
  6. ^ Hutton, Richard (2018-12-06). "CEBL partners with Canada Basketball, inks deal with New Era". Retrieved 2019-04-20.
  7. ^ Lehn, Don. "CEBL And Spalding Announce Three Year Partnership Agreement (VIDEO)". FVN. Retrieved 2019-04-20.
  8. ^ "CEBL confirms July restart with tournament in St. Catharines". CBC Sports. 2020-06-25. Archived from the original on 2020-06-25. Retrieved 2020-06-25.
  9. ^ "CEBL hopes target-score finish will create heroes every game". CBC Sports. 2020-07-09. Archived from the original on 2020-07-10. Retrieved 2021-08-14.
  10. ^ "Edmonton Stingers To Represent Canada In International BCLA". 2021-09-22. Retrieved 2022-05-31.
  11. ^ "Canadian Elite Basketball League to launch Ottawa franchise". Global News. Retrieved 2019-12-10.
  12. ^ "CEBL headed to Montreal, expansion team to come in 2022". CBC Sports. 5 February 2021. Retrieved 27 November 2021.
  13. ^ "Scarborough Shooting Stars owners hope new CEBL team inspires next generation -". Retrieved 2022-05-31.
  14. ^ "Montreal Alliance hopes to ride pro basketball momentum in Quebec". montrealgazette. Retrieved 2022-05-31.
  15. ^ "Meet Newfoundland's new pro basketball team, the … Growlers? Yep, the Growlers". November 26, 2021.
  16. ^ "THIS IS CEBL". Canadian Elite Basketball League. Retrieved December 26, 2019.
  17. ^ "Fraser Valley Bandits bringing pro basketball to the Abbotsford Centre". Langley Advance Times. 26 November 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  18. ^ Zary, Darren (2019-01-24). "'I still have a lot left in the tank to coach': Ex-Huskies coach Greg Jockims named GM-coach of Saskatchewan Rattlers". Saskatoon StarPhoenix. Retrieved 2019-04-20.
  19. ^ March 25, Mark; Malone (2019-03-25). "Honey Badgers choose Rocca in first CEBL draft". The Observer. Retrieved 2019-04-20.
  20. ^ "Canadian Round-Up: Canadians go head-to-head in the WNBL Finals, SGA's home debut and a chat with the CEO of the CEBL". NBA CA. Turner Sports. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  21. ^ "CEBL games will be live-streamed on CBC". 2019-06-11. Retrieved 2019-06-12.
  22. ^ "Year-old Canadian Elite Basketball League signs broadcast deal with CBC". Penticton Herald. Retrieved 2019-12-19.
  23. ^ "Mediapro secures five CEBL deals in APAC region ahead of finals weekend". SportBusiness. 2020-08-07. Retrieved 2020-08-09.
  24. ^ "Canadian Elite Basketball League's bubble season featured in new documentary". CBC News. 2021-05-29. Retrieved 2021-05-29.

External links[edit]