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The countdown has started for the Eastern Canadian Basketball League (ECBL).
The new Maritime professional league announced Monday it plans to run March to June and begin in 2022.
“It’s one year away,” Tim Kendrick, league president, said Monday.
The ECBL was always looking at those dates but were waiting to announce them due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But league officials were boosted by the federal government’s recent announcement that most Canadians would receive their first dose of a vaccine by the end of June.
Kendrick said there were a number of reasons it loved the March-to-June schedule.
“March is a huge month of the year in Canadian basketball,” he said, noting it is when high school provincials, plus college and university playoffs take place and when the NCAA tournament begins. “There’s a real focus on basketball, so we wanted to capitalize on that.”
The timing also helps the ECBL avoid other local leagues’ schedules and fewer leagues worldwide are playing, enabling the new league to attract more talent to the Maritime-based circuit.
Operating in the spring also gives the league the best chance of missing inclement winter weather while also being finished before summer vacations are in full swing.
The league will crown its champion through a single-elimination weekend tournament that will rotate through the three Maritime provinces in communities where the league has franchises.
“That’s a huge boost to the local economies for those weekends,” Kendrick said.
The league said on Twitter in late January it was accepting player and coaching applications and floated a dozen communities it was going to be approaching about franchises. They include Charlottetown and Summerside in Prince Edward Island, Halifax, Dartmouth, South Shore, Annapolis Valley, Sydney and Truro in Nova Scotia plus Fredericton, Moncton, Saint John and Miramichi in New Brunswick.
The league has not announced any franchises, but Kendrick said discussions are underway with an undisclosed number of communities. He called the dialogue “very promising” and “very encouraging”.
I am very proud of what we are trying to do with our league! A true “community based” approach, with an emphasis on providing a very positive experience for ALL involved! Stay tuned for more announcements coming soon! #ECBL #BiggerThanBasketball #Maritimes https://t.co/BKVFcIkRMH— Coach Tim Kendrick (@Coach_Kendrick) March 8, 2021