CEBL gets go-ahead from health officials to tip off-season on June 24

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TORONTO — The Canadian Elite Basketball League has received the green light from health officials to tip off its season.

The CEBL had been scheduled to open April 21, but was pushed back two months amid rising cases of COVID-19 in the pandemic's third wave.

The league's return-to-play plan has been approved by public health officials in Alberta, B.C., Ontario and Saskatchewan.

The season is slated to start June 24.

League commissioner and CEO Mike Morreale said the CEBL expects to be among the first Canadian leagues to welcome fans back into venues.

The Montreal Canadiens have had 2,500 fans at NHL playoff games, while the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets have had about 500 vaccinated front-line workers for post-season contests.

"CEBL athletes, officials and staff are ecstatic to start our 2021 season. We are proud to demonstrate how sport can safely resume and lead the industry back to play," Morreale said in a statement.

The CEBL was the first pro sports league to resume play in Canada after the outbreak of the pandemic, hosting a condensed, single-site Summer Series last season in a bubble format in St. Catharines, Ont.

The Edmonton Stingers won the title.

With CEBL training camps set to open on Tuesday, import players are currently in 14-day quarantines in their respective Canadian cities.

The Ottawa BlackJacks host the Niagara River Lions in the June 24 season opener. The Hamilton Honey Badgers host Edmonton on June 26, and Fraser Valley hosts Saskatchewan later that day to complete the opening weekend of action.

The CEBL is in its third season, and has seven teams across Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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