In paraphrasing a title from an old Christopher Williams song I speak the truth: Don't wake me if I'm dreaming. It was just announced yesterday that there was going to be a domestic basketball league in Canada. This is incredible news! Can Ball Ray puts his two cents of rambling on what could be the start of something very, very special ...
In case you missed the announcement yesterday, Canada now has a professional basketball league!
The league is called The National Basketball League of Canada and the outlook right now is very bright.
As I had suspected since the defection of the Halifax Rainmen, Saint John's Millrats and the Quebec Kebs from the Premiere Basketball League this past spring, what may have been hoped for and whispered finally came true.
A new league was formed and is looking to begin playing by November 2011.
Now I’m not going to go into a rant of whether I think a league like this can exist in a hockey obsessed country because if we want to be the Grinch that stole Christmas the answer would historically be no. There has been a league or two that have tried to get off the ground here in Canada, primarily in Ontario, and they have failed for whatever reason. I don’t want to get into that and really. Those leagues were started in different times, under different circumstances and with different environments.
That is neither here nor there at the present time.
The point of the matter is that there is a set of individuals that have proven able to run a professional basketball franchises that have successfully stayed afloat for an extended period of time in several minor leagues. The cache here is the track record of success and by that I don’t mean win and losses. The track record is that they were able to field a team, attract fans, pay everyone on time and make it through to in the black to do it all over again multiple times.
This was what the previous two leagues lacked and you can never eff with a successful track record like that.
Now if you refer back to my post about the possibility of a professional basketball league in Canada, I had said that for a legit chance for a league like this to have a shot to survive it would need to stay out of the major metropolis areas like Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal. And well, the new league is on point with that at the moment. The cornerstone teams will be the Kebs, Rainmen and Millrats and the pending franchises being in Moncton, NB, London, Oshawa, Kingston and Barrie, ON. All these places are large enough to support a minor league hockey team but small enough to have their teams being larger than life. A great move in my opinion.
The league is also staying relatively regional to begin with which I also think is a good move. These regional rivalries will be a key to getting interest in the league in general as well as keeping travel costs down. Getting this regional excitement going and generating a steady fan base early will be a key to the leagues survival and if the support that the cornerstone teams is an indication it’s possible that these can be very successful on that alone.
Now of course, being a person who is a connoisseur of the minor league basketball histories I am obviously leery of any league. I’ve seen teams from many leagues, ahem American Basketball Association, be announced and vanish as soon as they materialized in cyberspace. There have been some in Canada and really that has done nothing but hurt the cause in my opinion.
But despite that, I think this is a great move for the game of basketball in Canada. With a professional league in this country we now enter the ranks of the rest of the FIBA associated countries. With this country being the only one without a domestic basketball league (until now anyway), it will be very important that we all support this endeavor for the betterment of the game. This will be a great opportunity for the sport to take a foothold at a local or grassroots level where the sport can really connect with people outside the diehard ballers, like us, on a very real level which will be a very important aspect for the game to continue to grow.
Who knows? Maybe this may be the dawn of a new age of basketball in this country and for the record, I'm excited about the news. Check out the many clips about the news from yesterday and the full news conference video below ...
On a side note: The ABA has launched an endeavor to move into the Canadian market with an ABA Canada division officially launching sometime last month. The ABA has had many Canadian franchises listed on their website but very little has come of them with the exception of the Niagara franchise that was a gong show in its only year of existence. I wonder how this announcement is resonating in their offices both in Canada and in the US.
Check out the league's website here ... www.nblcanada.com