New pro basketball team coming to Ottawa

A new sports franchise is coming to Ottawa as the Canadian Elite Basketball League plans to expand to the nation’s capital.

City will have club in fledgling Canadian Elite Basketball League as of 2020

The Saskatchewan Rattlers and the Niagara River Lions, seen here in a May 2019 game, are among the six existing teams in the Canadian Elite Basketball League. Ottawa has been named the league's seventh club. (Saskatchewan Rattlers/Twitter)

A new sports franchise is coming to Ottawa as the Canadian Elite Basketball League plans to expand to the nation's capital.

The team name, logo and jersey design will be unveiled Wednesday at TD Place at Lansdowne Park by league commissioner Mike Morreale.

"We felt that the community of Ottawa and the greater area of the Gatineau region and everywhere in this vicinity was ready for some really good professional basketball," Morreale said Monday evening.

"It's a market that we have been looking at for quite some time, even well before we ever tipped off."

Will be league's 7th team

The CEBL is a Canadian professional basketball league that launched its first season last year. It has teams located in Edmonton, Abbotsford, B.C., Guelph, Ont., Hamilton, Ont., St. Catharines, Ont. and Saskatchewan. 

Ottawa will be home to the league's 7th team when the next season gets underway in the summer of 2020.

They can dream about the opportunity to play in their hometown.- Mike Morreale

The CEBL is a single-entity business, meaning that the ownership group owns the league and all of the teams.

According to league rules, 70 per cent of each team's roster must be Canadian. Players are mostly drawn from university and college sports programs, professional leagues from overseas, as well as Canada's national team, said Morreale.

Morreale said the league provides a conduit for basketball to grow in Canada.

"I hope it adds an opportunity for the younger generation, whether they're already in university or college or they're in high school or in a minor basketball program," Morreale said.

"They can dream about the opportunity to play in their hometown or play in their home country."

The city has a rocky recent history when it comes to professional sports teams.

The Ottawa Fury pro soccer team recently suspended operations after failing to get permission to play in the U.S.-based United Soccer League, while the Ottawa Champions were left off the roster of the newly merged Frontier and Can-Am baseball leagues.


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