Canadian Elite Basketball League returning to action in July with tournament

The Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) is returning to the hardwood next month after postponing the start to its season in April due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

All seven teams will take part in a tournament starting July 25 in St. Catharines, Ont., the CEBL said Thursday in a release.

Officials noted the start date is dependent on the status of Ontario’s reopening plan.

“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 seven teams from Ottawa, Hamilton, Guelph, Edmonton, Saskatchewan (Saskatoon), Fraser Valley (Abbotsford) and the hometown Niagara River Lions will take part in a training camp starting July 15.

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They will be isolated from the general public and league officials said strict COVID-19 will be followed under the supervision of medical officials.

A schedule has yet to be released, but league officials said each team will play each other once, with the lowest-seeded team eliminated at the end of round-robin play.

The remaining six teams will then be seeded in a bracket, with the winner crowned the CEBL champion for 2020.

The Saskatchewan Rattlers are the defending league champions.

All games will be played at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines.

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