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CEBL in Talks with Meridian Centre in Niagara for championship tourney

The Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) appears to have given up on conventional regular-season play due to COVID-19.

Levon Kendall CEBL Fraser Valley Bandits
Levon Kendall CEBL Fraser Valley Bandits - Photo: Darren Francis

In the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown, the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) appears to have given up on conventional regular-season play and is tentatively planning to crown its 2020 champion with a multi-week tournament in July and August.

In a statement today (June 15, 2020), the league said it has abandoned all other contingency plans and is focused exclusively on a tournament that would see all seven clubs play in a single location in Ontario.

Though specifics are yet to be finalized, the league said it is in talks with the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines, Ont., for the second half of July and August.

The Meridian Centre is the home venue of the Niagara River Lions and has a seating capacity of 5,300 — though it’s not clear if fans would be permitted to attend games due to COVID-19. 

Hamilton Honey Badgers player handles ball
The Hamilton Honey Badgers also made last season’s CEBL final. CEBL Photo

“All plans must conform to the phased-in re-opening measures taken by the province throughout the coming weeks,” the league said in a statement. 

“We are optimistic that our league will be a leader in returning pro sports to playing in Canada,” added league commissioner Mike Morreale in a release. 

Edmonton was previously slated to host the CEBL’s 2020 Championship Weekend from Aug. 14 to 16, after a regular season that was slated to begin May 7. 

When much of Canada went into lockdown due to COVID-19, the league initially pushed back the start of its season until at least June. 

“We look forward to future hosting opportunities in Alberta’s capital in front of our incredible fans,” said Morreale. 

The proposed championship tournament would include all teams in a round-robin set of games, culminating in a single-elimination playoff that would determine the league’s 2020 champion. 

Must Read:  Guelph’s Cameron Kusch is CEBL’s top executive for inaugural season

Saskatchewan defeated Hamilton last season to win the CEBL’s inaugural championship. 

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