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CEBL brings pro sports back to Canada with July 25 double-header

The Canadian Elite Basketball League is officially set to bring professional sports back to Canada for the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak. 

On Friday, the CEBL and CBC Sports announced a full schedule of games for the league’s Summer Series tournament that tips off July 25 at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines, Ont.

CBC will broadcast seven games on television and will live stream all 26 games of the tournament on the free CBC Gem streaming service, cbcsports.ca, and the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices.

“As the professional sports league in Canada that has the highest percentage of players being Canadian, the CEBL truly is the league created by Canadians for Canadians,” said Mike Morreale, commissioner and CEO of the CEBL. “It is fitting that our premier media partner is Canada’s Olympic Network and has a legacy of supporting and showcasing the best Canadian athletes.

“People across the country will be able to see for themselves through CBC’s platforms why Canada has emerged as one of the world’s powerhouses when it comes to producing world class professional basketball talent.”

The CEBL and CBC Sports announced a three-year partnership on Nov. 26, 2019 that includes broadcast and streaming coverage each season.

All seven teams will compete in a round-robin competition that leads into a single elimination playoff, followed by the championship game on Aug. 9. The dates are still subject to the status of Ontario’s reopening process.

The July 25 opening day features a doubleheader on the CBC network that begins with the Hamilton Honey Badgers and Niagara River Lions at 1:30 p.m. ET, followed by the expansion Ottawa BlackJacks making their league debut against the Guelph Nighthawks at 3:50 p.m. ET.

 “We are excited to bring live sports back to audiences in local communities across the country, who are just as hungry for the return to play as we are,” said Chris Wilson, CBC’s executive director of Sports & Olympics. “Our partners at the CEBL have come up with a plan that not only adheres to health and safety restrictions, but takes the competition to the next level.

“The condensed season means each game means that much more, and we are thrilled to be able to provide a national stage for these athletes and the league. This tournament will be exciting summer entertainment for Canadians at just the right time.”

The seven teams from Ottawa, Hamilton, Guelph, Edmonton, Saskatchewan (Saskatoon), and Fraser Valley (Abbotsford) will be joining the host Niagara River Lions on July 15 for the opening of each team’s 10-day training camp. 

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