Canadian Basketball Elite League | Basketball Challenge in Montreal

In the past, basketball fans in Quebec have often been disappointed by the professional teams that have established themselves here. So what makes the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) special?

Posted on October 28, 2021

Pascal Leblanc

Pascal Leblanc

“I think the way we’re organized helps a lot,” Commissioner Mike Morial said. The league brings together all the teams, like Major League Soccer in its early days. This allows us to guarantee the quality of all of them as well as our brand image. The former Canadian Football League player is aware that his league does not rival the popularity of the Toronto Raptors, but stresses that CEBL offers “the best basketball in the country and has the best Canadian players that are not in the NBA.”

Before the start of the season, Ottawa Blackjack coach Charles Dobby Price said Journalism He is satisfied with the seriousness and validity of CEBL.

The league is very different from all kinds of unorganized structures that we have known in the past. There was no league like CEBL in Canada.

Charles Dobby Price, Ottawa Black Jack coach, at CEBL

“They’ve been doing things right from the start, and then it’s now in the hands of the people of Montreal. So far, it’s doing very well in all the markets in English Canada, so why not be here?” says the person who was part of the coaching staff of the Raptors school club. In G-League, 905.

Mike Morrell emphasizes that “we must not forget that basketball is played by people from all walks of life. Therefore, in a multicultural city like Montreal, many are happy to see their sport finally introduced.”

Another factor that may explain the growing success of CEBL since its inception three years ago is the recent rise in popularity the sport has reached. The Raptors’ championship in 2019, several Canadians in the NBA and three star Quebecers contributed to the enthusiasm.

Double Champion with the Miami Heat, Joel Anthony, believes that the appetite for basketball in the capital has only grown in recent years. “There have always been fans, but the pool is constantly growing. The appearance of Montreal players in the NBA has fueled the interest of regular sports fans in it. The man on the coaching staff at Hamilton Honey Badgers thinks offering basketball this quality in the summer is exciting.” impressive.

A real league with this level of competition is unheard of here!

Joel Anthony, former NBA and Hamilton coach Honey Badgers, at CEBL

“For players who want to improve their situation next season or for those who want to keep fit, this is a great opportunity,” he said. In addition, young people are no longer in school and the days are getting longer. Everyone benefits! »

Montrealer Chris Joseph, who has been playing for European clubs for a few years, played over the summer for Ottawa blackjack and he can attest to that. “There are some players who have played in the NBA, others in top-tier American universities… and that will continue because the league is growing. Note that at least three CEBL players have signed training camp agreements with NBA teams at the end of the season.

Joseph, a former Syracuse Orange player who also played for the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets, credits social media for basketball’s growing popularity. “Youngsters see the highlights and practice the moves. There are surely a lot more guys today who would pay their parents to go watch a game than when I was playing in high school in Montreal.”

The painful history of professional basketball in Montreal

Dragon (1993) – National Basketball League

The team played its first match in front of 4000 people at Verdun Hall on May 7, 1993. On June 10 of the same year, it stopped its activities. However, the Dragons drew on two ex-NBAs, two former NCAA stars and two members of the Canadian national team, Dwight Walton and Wayne Yearwood. But the problems were more financial.

The Matrix (2005-2007) – American Basketball Association

In the 1970s, the ABA circuit competed with the NBA in particular because of Julius Erving, alias Ds J. Its re-release in 2000 was not successful. With that, a team from Montreal played there for two seasons. Many Quebec players allow the team to participate in the playoffs from the first year. The next stage is not going well. The Matrix becomes Royal, but money is still an issue.

Sasquatch (2008-2009) – Basketball Premier League

At the beginning of 2008, PBL was founded by a few teams frustrated with their ABA experience. Sasquatch is one of 10 squads in the inaugural season. Barely a year later, Montreal was kicked out of the league for not respecting its rules, including paying its players… The PBL survived until 2013.

Jazz (2012-2013) – Canadian National Basketball League

Before jazz, there were Kebs (or Kebekwa) from Quebec, who have been rolling for a few years. They played their first two seasons in the NBA, then joined the NBA in 2009. They left the final season in 2011 to found the National Basketball Association of Canada. In 2012, the Kebs family moved to Laval, but the project failed. Montreal welcomes the team into disaster, becoming the jazz, but playing only one season of two wins and 38 losses.

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