We are less than three months away from the inaugural Edmonton Stingers basketball game. On Friday, May 10, 2019, the Edmonton Expo Centre will be the place to be to catch the first ever Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) game. Today a historic agreement was reached between the CEBL and U SPORTS:
“CANADIAN ELITE BASKETBALL LEAGUE, U SPORTS FORM LEAGUE PARTNERSHIP
NIAGARA / TORONTO – The Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL), and U SPORTS, the national brand for university sports in Canada, announced Tuesday a partnership that will provide competitive developmental opportunities for Canadian University men’s basketball players. This unique collaboration will allow student-athletes to sign a CEBL developmental contract that offers them a platform to further help grow their talents in the summer months. Top U SPORTS student-athletes will be drafted as part of a league-wide Entry Draft scheduled for mid-March, following the 2019 U SPORTS Men’s Basketball Final 8, hosted by Dalhousie University at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax.”
A league in its infancy just delivered big on its first promise. On June 22, 20,18 during the Stingers franchise announcement, Chief Executive Officer Mike Morreale and President/COO Western Operations Lee Genier both echoed each other stating that one of the core values of this league would be to enable Canadian talent to develop at home.
Edmonton, we know you have been burned by previous basketball leagues that were all talk. Well, the CEBL should have just earned your trust with today’s landmark agreement to give Canadian U SPORTS athletes the ability to continue to hone their craft in their own backyard.
Here are some quotes from the official league press release:
“We are excited to partner with the CEBL and give our men’s basketball student-athletes the chance to stay in Canada to pursue their dreams,” said U SPORTS President and CEO Graham Brown. “We are happy to see the sport of basketball grow at home following Canada’s recent qualification for the FIBA World Cup and help create a bright future for the sport across the country.”
“A partnership between the CEBL and U SPORTS bodes well for the development of basketball in Canada,” said Glen Grunwald, CEO and President of Canada Basketball. “This opens up a unique opportunity for student-athletes to develop their talents right here in their home country and that’s a sign of a very exciting time for the sport”.
“Partnering with U SPORTS to help grow the rising stars of basketball in this country really excites us,” said Mike Morreale, Chief Executive Officer of the CEBL. “I would like to thank Graham and his team for their passionate involvement in helping the CEBL develop and grow the game in this country and make it a global basketball powerhouse.”
I reached out to the Stingers office for a comment and Lee Genier (President and Chief Operating Officer Western Operations) quickly responded:
“We are very excited to partner with U SPORTS to strengthen the path for players entering into the CEBL and grow the game of basketball across Canada at all levels.”
The CEBL has done the cool little things right developing partnerships with New Era for merchandise, and naming Spalding as the official basketball of the league. Prior to today’s important announcement with U SPORTS, the league also had the huge step of becoming an official first division professional league partner of Canada Basketball.
The summer of 2019 promises to be an exciting one in the city of Edmonton and in the other five franchise cities as the CEBL comes to town.
Wherever you are in Canada, #HoldCourt.
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