NBL Canada looks to expand, extends partnership with TBL

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The National Basketball League of Canada (NBL Canada) announced major plans for expansion on Saturday.

The league just wrapped up its tenth season, which looked much different than seasons past.

“When we came out the other side of the pandemic, we were not the same league. We faced new challenges – and saw some new opportunities,” NBL Canada Commissioner, Audley Stephenson said.

In 2022, the NBL Canada consisted of four Ontario-based teams playing a 24-game schedule that included competition against eight U.S.-based teams from The Basketball League (TBL). In 2023, the league plans to change again, by to adding two more teams. Plans also include adding another 20-25 teams across the country over the next five years.

“There are lots of markets that could support an NBL Canada team,” Stephenson said.

A statement from the league cited, that in Ontario alone, 18 cities have Ontario Hockey League (OHL) franchises but only London, Windsor, and Sudbury also have NBL Canada franchises.

“When you circle around and look, it’s not hard to see the possibilities for rapid growth – re-establishing an eastern division, expanding West, especially with our relationship with TBL so teams can have closer games while we build out the footprint in Canada,” Stephenson added.

Part of the expansion plans rely on the new partnership with the TBL, which has now been extended for another 10 years.

Current TBL President, David Magley, has grown basketball on both sides of the border. In his two years as the head of NBL Canada, Magley grew the league from seven to 11 teams and on the American side he’s expanded the TBL from eight to 44 teams.

“The way this game is growing across the United States and Canada, it is important for us (TBL and NBL Canada) to provide as many opportunities as possible for these players to showcase their talents,” Magley said. “Quite frankly, our teams also become community assets that are active in local fundraising, mentoring, and impacting of the youth by being visible and approachable.”

NBL Canada’s Commissioner added that this expansion isn’t just about the league itself, but about growing the game of basketball. “This is about elevating the game across the country and around the world. It’s go time,” he said.