There is a new elite women's basketball league coming to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
The six-team Maritime Women's Basketball Association was introduced this week and is targeting the spring of 2022 to open play.
There will be three teams in each province - the Halifax Sirens, Halifax Thunder and Windsor Edge in Nova Scotia and the Port City Fog of Saint John, 506 Elite of Moncton and Fredericton Freeze in New Brunswick. The league is also leaving the door open for a short period for other potential franchises.
"Those involved from those organizations are strong leaders and know their way around building teams and leagues," league commissioner Tasia McKenna said in a news release after an initial Zoom meeting with the ownership group. "You could feel the quality of people that are involved in the MWBA just come to the forefront.
"We have such a strong group of leaders involved with the MWBA and that was showcased during the meeting."
The goal of the MWBA is to provide more local female players with the opportunity to continue playing at an elite level. The league's schedule will not conflict with the AUS or ACAA seasons and there will be roster limits for active college and university players. Players from those leagues would also need formal permission from their coaches to play in the league.
Former university and college players are eligible to fill the remaining roster spots but teams are not limited to candidates who previously played at those levels.
The initial regular season season schedule is expected to be either 12 or 14 games and there will be a championship weekend. The league will run from late April to June.
"We will continue to meet and fine-tune many of the details, but the bottom line is we’re very encouraged with what is unfolding in front of us," Timberlea's McKenna said. "Creating a league for female players, promoting diversity and unity on numerous levels is going to make the MWBA stand out. We can’t wait to continue meeting challenges."
McKenna was a natural fit for the commissioner's role because she is a former high-level player and is also technical director of Basketball Nova Scotia. Among her many achievements, McKenna was a four-time MVP at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont., an OUA all-rookie team member, three-time league all-star, three-time female Lakehead athlete of the year and was the team’s all-time leading scorer when she graduated.
"The MWBA was an idea that caught my attention early and the more we are delving into the creation and foundation of its design, it’s an exciting initiative that I wanted to be a part of right away," McKenna said. "It’s a league that will offer competitive play, promote female basketball from players to coaches to officials and minor officials and beyond. It’s something I certainly wish existed when I was playing."