Pro basketball back in the Maritimes as Eastern Canadian Basketball League tips off – New Brunswick
Professional basketball is back at Maritimes. Eastern Canadian Basketball League.
The league consists of six teams spread across Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick.
In St. John, the Union kicked off their first season Friday night with the Bathurst Bears by a 98-85 decision in front of nearly 2,000 fans.
The region has been without a league since the National Basketball League of Canada (NBL) left the city of Atlantic Canada nearly three years ago.
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According to their head coach, the team came together at the last minute to secure the win.
“One player, Camor Richards, just got off the plane today (Friday) at noon,” St John Union head coach Rob Spawn said after the home opener.
“The other two arrived yesterday and flew for 12 hours, so we didn’t expect this.”
He said even a week ago it was hard to imagine the team playing at the TD station.
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That team on the court was aided by the Maritime people, whose players must either attend school or be from the area. The team hopes that these players will be shining lights in the league.
The team’s operations manager, Randy Rotman, told Global News that having these maritimers on the team will make the league more successful than other leagues that have flown through Atlantic Canada.
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Rotman is a player at the University of New Brunswick in St. John and said it was his goal to be part of a league open to the Maritimes. After seeing no league, he said he wanted to secure those players on his team.
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“I know the talent that I played with,” he said at Friday’s game. “I wish I had this league when I played.”
He said high school talent alone was enough to make the ECBL a competitive league.
Several of its high school students were visited by players throughout the week as the team looks to the community. The team hopes to work with high school students across the region to help them grow their careers.
Rotman said the league will be a place for post-secondary basketball students.
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