Is there another minor basketball league on the horizon in Canada? It looks like there could be. Can Ball Ray shares some thoughts on the possibility of another league entering north of the 48th parallel ...
So we have all heard that Canadian the teams formerly of the Premier Basketball League are getting together and starting what could be the lastest of the attempts at a domestic basketball league in the form of the NBL Canada. But what you may not know is that there has long been a league with eyes on Canada for years - the ABA.
Of late, the newest incarnation of the rogue league that has brought us such things as the three point shot, the San Antonio Spurs, the Indiana Pacers, and great players like Doctor J, Iceman and the Horse has been revived since the early 2000s and has been running in some form or another since. Well, this league has been eyeing a Canadian expansion and they look to put that into full effect this summer.
Now this will be an interesting situation to say that least.
To be very clear, the ABA is a minor league similar to the PBL or the International Basketball League that the Edmonton Energy play in. They have been around for a while and have been very big on what you can call aggressive expansion in the business world seemingly having expansion teams coming up out of the woodwork almost daily. There have been successes and failures with the league throughout the years and they have still managed to be around.
So what does this mean for us basketball fans?
Not a whole lot right now.
Though there is little info on either league at the moment in terms of schedules, players, etc, we at least know that the NBL is slating to start playing this fall with three teams in the Maritimes and Quebec anchoring the league and potential teams in the eastern provinces, Quebec and Ontario looking to be on the list as well. The only thing about the ABA Canada we do know is that they are holding an event this coming July as a meet, greet and explain of the coming league. With no timetable for anything other than that, we can assume that the ABA is not ready to compete for our attention this season.
The news of another ABA jump into Canada (since there have been attempts before with mixed to no results) has me with a little suspicion. They have had a very rocky history with teams folding mid season, both now and in the early incarnation, and let's be honest Canada isn't exactly a basketball haven.
What I do like that there is an interest in the league to start up a whole Canada division which is being headed by Bill Crowdis of LTD Sports. He's been trying to get a league of some type in Canada, particularly in Ontario for a while and was close to doing so with the Canadian National Basketball League (which I almost tried out for before a horrific bout with shin splints and the realization that I wasn't good enough) in the early part of the last decade. He's got a lot of time to get a proper thing together here.
There has been a history of minor league basketball in Canada, and a proud one at that, that goes back several decades. There was a market then and with the increase in participation levels and the exposure of Canadian players at higher levels as well as the NBA's presence in the home of hockey this market has likely grown somewhat.
But will it be enough?
I think the coming months with the NBL will give us fans an indication as to how the ABA will have it. The NBL will has a very truncated timetable to get something resembling a league together for October. It will be tough but not impossible and they are going about it as I expected staying in the smaller markets where I think the teams have the best chance to survive year one. I'm sure that they will be able to make a run at it but are we ready to have two games in town yet ...