Canadian Elite Basketball League

The Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) is a professional men's basketball league that began play in Spring 2019. Six teams were announced May 2, 2018, that will be owned and operated by ownership group Canadian Basketball Ventures.

Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL)
Current season, competition or edition:
2020 CEBL season
FounderRichard Petko
Inaugural season2019
CEOMike Morreale
No. of teams7
Country Canada
ContinentFIBA Americas (Americas)
Most recent
Saskatchewan Rattlers (1st title)
TV partner(s)CBC


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 whom he 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.[2] The six charter teams were officially unveiled in May 2018, with the River Lions joining five newly-created franchises in Abbotsford, Edmonton, Guelph, Hamilton, and Saskatoon.[2]

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.[2] 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.[2]

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."[3][4] Due to this agreement, the league plays under the standard FIBA rules.[3]

In January 2019, the CEBL announced a three-year agreement with Spalding to be the official ball of the league.[5]

In November 2019, the Ottawa Blackjacks were announced as the league's 7th team for the 2020 season.[6]



  • Mike Morreale, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer
  • Lee Genier, President and Chief Operations Officer
  • Glenn Young, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing
  • John Lashway, Executive Vice President of Strategy and Communications
  • Joe Raso, Director of Basketball Operations
  • Josh Knoester, Vice President of League Operations
  • Nathan Brady, Director of League Operations


The CEBL's main focus will be on showcasing and developing Canadian talent in basketball:[2] at least 70% of each team's roster must consist of Canadian players.[3] Morreale implicated that there would be a salary cap,[7] but that "more than 50%" of its players would be paid as much per-game, if not more, than players in the NBA G League.[3] 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.[2][3][8] 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.[9][3][10]


Team City Venue Capacity Founded First season Head coach
Edmonton Stingers Edmonton, Alberta Edmonton Expo Centre 4,857 2018 2019 Jermaine Small
Fraser Valley Bandits Abbotsford, British Columbia Abbotsford Centre 7,046 2017 2019 Kyle Julius
Guelph Nighthawks Guelph, Ontario Sleeman Centre 5,100 2017 2019 Charles Kissi
Hamilton Honey Badgers Hamilton, Ontario FirstOntario Centre 4,543 2018 2019 Chantal Vallee
Ottawa Blackjacks Ottawa, Ontario TD Place Arena 9,500 2019 2020 Vacant
Niagara River Lions St. Catharines, Ontario Meridian Centre 4,030 2015 2019 Victor Raso
Saskatchewan Rattlers Saskatoon, Saskatchewan SaskTel Centre 5,898 2018 2019 Vacant


The majority of games will be broadcast online via 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.[11]

On June 12, 2019, the CEBL announced that CBC Sports would stream all remaining games of the inaugural season on its digital platform.[12]


  1. "New coast-to-coast Canadian pro basketball league announced". Rogers Media. Retrieved 2019-04-20.
  2. McGaughey, Paul (May 15, 2018). "Canadian Elite Basketball League striving to be more than a 'shoestring business'". CBC Sports. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  3. Milton, Steve (2018-12-06). "CEBL joins Canada Basketball pyramid". The Hamilton Spectator. ISSN 1189-9417. Retrieved 2019-04-20.
  4. Hutton, Richard (2018-12-06). "CEBL partners with Canada Basketball, inks deal with New Era". Retrieved 2019-04-20.
  5. Lehn, Don. "CEBL And Spalding Announce Three Year Partnership Agreement (VIDEO)". FVN. Retrieved 2019-04-20.
  6. "Canadian Elite Basketball League to launch Ottawa franchise". Global News. Retrieved 2019-12-10.
  7. "New basketball circuit hopes to thrive where other minor leagues have struggled". Toronto Star. May 2, 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  8. "Fraser Valley Bandits bringing pro basketball to the Abbotsford Centre". Langley Advance Times. 26 November 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  9. 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.
  10. March 25, Mark; Malone (2019-03-25). "Honey Badgers choose Rocca in first CEBL draft". The Observer. Retrieved 2019-04-20.
  11. "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.
  12. "CEBL games will be live-streamed on CBC". 2019-06-11. Retrieved 2019-06-12.
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