New elite cir­cuit makes a ground­break­ing agree­ment Thurs­day with Canada Bas­ket­ball

StarMetro Toronto - - DAILY LIFE - Doug Smith SPORTS RE­PORTER

A part­ner­ship that makes sense on so many lev­els has de­vel­oped in Cana­dian bas­ket­ball that can­not only help the game over­all but also in­di­vid­ual play­ers, of­fi­cials and coaches.

The fledg­ling Cana­dian Elite Bas­ket­ball League — a six-team, May-to-au­gust cir­cuit that kicks off next year — has signed a part­ner­ship deal with Canada Bas­ket­ball that will have an im­pact on the on­court prod­uct in myr­iad ways.

The league — with three teams in south­ern On­tario, one in Saska­toon, an­other in Ed­mon­ton and one based in Ab­bots­ford, B.C. — will play un­der FIBA rules; have a sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship with Canada Bas­ket­ball that will help fill the ex­pected 70-per-cent Cana­dian roster re­quire­ment with fa­mil­iar names and lo­cal play­ers; and work of­fi­cially hand-in-hand not only with the na­tional govern­ing body but also its global over­seers.

“I think a lot of it is val­i­da­tion,” Mike Mor­reale, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the CEBL, said at a news con­fer­ence in Hamilton on Thurs­day. “I think it’s a real op­por­tu­nity for us as a league that hasn’t tipped off yet. … We rec­og­nize how im­por­tant this is.”

The most im­por­tant as­pect of the agree­ment has to do with the ties among the CEBL, Canada Bas­ket­ball and FIBA as the first so-called Divi­sion 1 league in Canada to be af­fil­i­ated with the world­wide or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Stan­dard­ized player con­tracts and move­ment, rules, officiating stan­dards, trans­fer­able dis­ci­pline and the le­git­i­macy be­stowed on the new league are sig­nif­i­cant.

“We’re help­ing the sport of bas­ket­ball, and that’s what we’re sup­posed to be do­ing,” said Glen Grun­wald, CEO of Canada Bas­ket­ball.

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