National Basketball League of Canada pushes back start of season

The London Lightning take on the KW Titans. (File photo by Scott Kitching, Blackburn Media)

The start of the tenth season of the National Basketball League of Canada (NBL) is being postponed by two weeks.

The league announced on Friday it is pushing back the season start date to February 21 in light of the province’s decision to ease capacity limits for venues on that day. The season had been scheduled to begin on February 5.

Starting on Family Day, public safety restrictions will loosen to allow 50 per cent spectator capacity at sporting events and no capacity limits at indoor public settings where proof of vaccination is required.

“As a league, we’re happy with the government of Ontario’s reopening plan as it will clear a way to make a full return to the court and enable us to celebrate our tenth season,” Audley Stephenson, the league’s vice president of basketball operations, said in a statement. “It’s been a long road and we’re incredibly appreciative to our fans for their unwavering support as we navigate health measures as a result of the pandemic.”

The tenth season will begin with two matinee games on February 21. The London Lightning will play the KW Titans and the Windsor Express will take on the Sudbury Five. Tip-off for both games is set for 2 p.m. It will mark the first time an NBL game has been played since the 2019-2020 season was cut short due to the pandemic in March 2020.

A revised schedule for the full upcoming NBL season will be released soon, the league said.