Canadian Elite Basketball League announces expansion to Winnipeg

WINNIPEG — The Canadian Elite Basketball League says it is expanding to Winnipeg for the 2023 season.

Winnipeg will be the league's fifth expansion since it launched in 2019 with six teams.

The league said Winnipeg's name and logo will be announced at a later date.

The CEBL, now with 11 teams, is the largest wholly Canadian professional sports league. The CFL and soccer's Canadian Premier League, which recently added a new team in Vancouver FC, each have nine franchises.

The CEBL has expanded its national footprint through expansion, adding teams in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto (Scarborough) and St. John's, N.L., since its debut season.

Before the 2022 season, the Fraser Valley Bandits moved from Abbotsford, B.C., to Langley and were rebranded the Vancouver Bandits, and the founding Nighthawks relocated from Guelph, Ont., to Calgary in August and will compete as the Surge in 2023.

The other franchises are: Edmonton, Niagara (St. Catharines), Saskatchewan (Saskatoon) and Hamilton.

The CEBL completed its fourth season Aug. 14, with the Hamilton Honey Badgers defeating the Scarborough Shooting Stars 90-88 in the championship game.

“Having a CEBL franchise located in Manitoba unifies the geographic reach of Canada’s national pro basketball league,” league commissioner Mike Morreale said in a release. “Winnipeg is an ideal market with a rich basketball history and a real passion for the game.

"It has always been a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ we would place a club in Winnipeg."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 9, 2022.

The Canadian Press