Sudbury Five to join new Basketball Super League next season

BSL to include NBLC teams, top clubs from TBL

Author of the article: Sudbury Star Staff

Published May 12, 2023 

Sudbury’s entry in the NBLC will jump next season to the newly launched Basketball Super League, billed as “the highest level of professional basketball outside of NBA system.”

The Sudbury Five, London Lightning and KW Titans will join top-tier teams from The Basketball League in the BSL when it tips off its inaugural season in December, NBLC and TBL officials confirmed in a release this week. 

“Our goal with the BSL is to offer a true destination league, serving markets that successfully host games in venues with a minimum capacity of 2,500,” TBL CEO Evelyn Magley said in a press release. “Kitchener, London and Sudbury are basketball-loving cities that fit the bill and we are so excited to welcome them.” 

Bob Johnston, COO for SW Sports and Entertainment and the top executive overseeing basketball operations for the Five, said the club is “extremely excited” to join the BSL.

“While we have enjoyed our time as members of the National Basketball League of Canada, the impacts of the COVID pandemic became too much to overcome for many of the NBLC teams,” Johnston said in a statement from the team. “It is important for our community and our loyal Sudbury Five fans to realize that the creation of the BSL will be something truly special, with outstanding basketball and strong credible franchises that are well governed and properly financed.

“Our ambition is to build the BSL into a league that is second in talent only to the NBA in North America and one that rivals the elite professional leagues in other countries throughout the world. Stay tuned, as the BSL will be announcing the addition of multiple new franchises throughout Ontario and eastern Canada in the upcoming months.”

Audley Stephenson, commissioner of the NBLC, said it’s a natural step in the league’s evolution for teams to join the BSL, the formation of which was announced in mid-April.

“We have some of the best basketball talent on the continent on these teams and some of the best fans,” Stephenson said. “Being part of the Basketball Super League means we’ll continue our commitment of growing the game here at home and developing Canadian talent by playing against some of the best ballers from the United States, both at home and in the U.S. That’s a win-win for everyone, because it means a higher calibre of basketball. We’re more than ready for it.” 

David Magley, CEO of the BSL, said the move is about more than great basketball, as both leagues share a deep commitment to community and to bringing fans, players and communities together.

“All of these teams make a real tangible difference in the communities that they’re in,” Magley said. “The players show up at schools, youth shelters, food banks and community events to teach real-life skills to young people who need the role models. In addition to offering the best professional basketball available to these communities, they’re making a difference every day.”

The TBL’s Newfoundland Rogues recently announced that they will also join the BSL. Newfoundland previously had a team in the NBLC, the St. John’s Edge, which made the league final in 2019. 

More announcements from teams in the United States are expected soon, David Magley said.

“We ultimately intend to reach all former NBLC markets,” he added.

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