The Canadian Elite Basketball League announced Thursday that its seven teams will convene at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines, Ontario starting July 15th to play the CEBL Summer Series, a round robin competition that will culminate in crowning the second-year league’s 2020 champion.
The timing of the Summer Series, subject to the status of the province of Ontario’s phased in reopening, will make the CEBL the first professional league in Canada to return to play following the COVID-19 outbreak in March.
“The CEBL has been at the forefront of the return-to-play efforts by major sports leagues across Canada, and we’re ecstatic at the prospect of being able to return live professional sports to Canadians,” said Mike Morreale, Commissioner and CEO of the CEBL.
“After exhausting all contingencies to get our teams back on the court this summer, a single-site competition, closed to fans but with all games available for free to viewers across the country and internationally, will enable us to again showcase the players who help make Canada the second-leading producer of pro basketball talent in the world.
The teams from Ottawa, Hamilton, Guelph, Edmonton, Saskatchewan (Saskatoon), and Fraser Valley (Abbotsford) will join the hometown Niagara River Lions on July 15th for the opening of each team’s training camp.
While the game schedule will be announced at a later date, the 26-game CEBL Summer Series tips off Saturday, July 25th. Each club will play the other once, and the team with the worst record will be eliminated and the remaining six will be seeded into a bracket. The third and sixth seeds, and the fourth and fifth seeds, will face each other for the right to advance to the semifinals against the first and second-seeded teams.
The CEBL Championship game is scheduled for Sunday, August 9th.
CBC Sports will offer live streams of all games to audiences across Canada via the free CBC Gem streaming service, cbcsports.ca and the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices. CBC will also provide broadcast coverage of select games, with details to be revealed in the coming weeks. The CEBL and CBC announced a three-year partnership on November 26, 2019 that includes broadcast and streaming coverage each season.
All seven teams will be accommodated in St. Catharines, playing games at the Meridian Centre, and practicing at a nearby facility. They will be separated from the general public, and strict screening and COVID-19 protocols will be adhered to under the supervision of medical officials. Extensive health and safety measures will be maintained for the participants, including social distancing and other specialized practices designed to limit interactions amongst participants.