CEBL headed to Montreal, expansion team to come in 2022

·2 min read

Despite ruling out expansion for the 2021 season, the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) has wasted no time in setting things up for 2022, as Montreal is slated to have a CEBL team next year.

Expansions for 2021 were ruled out due to complications caused by COVID-19.

CEBL commissioner Mike Morreale confirmed the news Thursday according to CBC's Kwabena Oduro.

"We understand that we won't be playing a game in Montreal until 2022," said Morreale. "Montreal, we're taking a much more collaborative approach with the city and with the venue to make sure that when we are ready to launch, that we have everybody onside.

"So, that goes for what we're hoping to do in Quebec City and what we're hoping to do in our other markets as we continue to grow."

The intention of moving into bigger markets such as Montreal, Winnipeg and Calgary have been there for some time but having time to work with, the goal of having 12 teams coast-to-coast is in the works with big plans in mind for the league.

"The sense of being coast-to-coast and the sense of being involved deeply in your community, being able to turn on the TV set and watch us play, that's really important," said Morreale. "Everything we're doing is being reinvested and invested into the future and we want to be the premier league and entertainment option in the spring and summer in Canada."

Montreal will be the CEBL's eighth team when the 2022 season comes around. The Ottawa Blackjacks were the league's first expansion team, announced in 2019 and having played in 2020.

If possible, the CEBL plans to play the 2021 season at its team's home arenas with hopes for fans being able to attend games. Without any approval for that yet, the option of playing in at least two regional bubbles with a national playoff bubble is on the table as well. The 2020 season was played in a bubble in St. Catharines in a month-long tournament setting.