NBLC returning with a twist in 2022

The London Lightning defeated the Windsor Express 126-114 at Budweiser Gardens. March 31, 2019. Photo by Scott Kitching

By the time the new season starts, it will have been nearly two years since the National Basketball League of Canada has seen game action.

But the long wait will come to an end in 2022, as the league returns with fewer teams and a plan to play teams from another league. The NBLC’s 10th season will begin on February 5, 2022 as the league returns from its COVID-19 related hiatus.

Things will look much different when the league begins the new season. The teams that made up the Atlantic Division will not be part of the 2022 season. In August, the Moncton Magic announced that they would no longer be part of the league and the Halifax Hurricanes made a similar announcement last month. The St. John’s Edge was unable to find a suitable venue for their games, so they too have dropped out. That left the Island Storm as the only team in the Atlantic Division. Team officials determined it would be cost-prohibitive to operate with no other teams in the Atlantic region, so they have decided to take a one-year leave of absence. The NBLC said it will try to rebuild the Atlantic Division.

With just the London Lightning, Windsor Express, Sudbury Five, and Kitchener-Waterloo Titans remaining, the NBLC has reached an agreement to play inter-league games with teams from The Basketball League (TBL), a U.S.-based league that has teams across the country. The teams that will take part in the inter-league arrangement are the Flint United, Lansing Pharaohs, Jamestown Jackals, Kokomo BobKats, Syracuse Stallions, and the Albany Patroons. In all, there will be 24 inter-league games, which will count in the standings of both leagues.

“After a longer than expected off season, it feels great to be able to officially announce that we’re back on the court for our 10th season,” said NBLC Vice-President of Operations Audley Stephenson. “I really want to thank our incredible fanbase for their support and continued understanding as we navigated through some difficult moments of uncertainty. We’re pleased about the partnership formed with the TBL and view it as a creative way to celebrate our tenth season.”

The NBLC says its 2022 schedule will be released on November 8.