ST. CATHARINES, June 8, 2018 – The Niagara River Lions announced Friday that they have left the National Basketball League of Canada and are joining the Canadian Elite Basketball League. Niagara officially notified the NBL of its departure Friday.
The River Lions join Hamilton, Guelph, Edmonton, Saskatoon, and Abbotsford as the original six cities with CEBL franchises. The CEBL is the only league in Canada affiliated with FIBA, the International Basketball Federation, which governs international competition in basketball.
“The Niagara River Lions were a premier franchise the past three years thanks in large part to the tremendous support of fans, corporate partners, and the communities across the Niagara region,” said Mike Morreale, chief executive officer of the CEBL. “Fans can expect a high energy, family friendly entertainment experience in the CEBL, with a variety of music, foods, and fun activities, and of course high caliber professional basketball players. The summer season format enables us to procure exceptional on-court talent, and also to deliver some entertainment elements not easily incorporated into basketball played during the winter months.”
“From their opening tip off in 2015, the Niagara River Lions have been an outstanding partner of the Meridian Centre,” said Jeff Dixon, general manager of the Meridian Centre. “The River Lions have provided local fans with top level, entertaining, family fun basketball. The Meridian Centre is thrilled to continue to grow and support our partnership with the River Lions as they enter the Canadian Elite Basketball League. The future of basketball in St. Catharines is exciting!”
The CEBL begins play in May 2019 with teams playing a 20-game regular season schedule. Rosters will be comprised of Canada’s best up and coming basketball talent, along with international players from other FIBA leagues.
More information about the Canadian Elite Basketball League, the Niagara River Lions, and each team may be obtained at www.cebl.ca