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CEBL expands to 10 teams with addition of Newfoundland Growlers

The Canadian Elite Basketball League announced Friday that it will expand to 10 teams for the 2022 season with the addition of the Newfoundland Growlers.

The Growlers will play in St. John's out of the Field House at Memorial University, which will be expanded to allow crowds of around 2,500 fans.

The Growlers are the third team to be added in the CEBL's third round of expansion. The league added teams in Montreal and the Toronto neighbourhood of Scarborough earlier this year.

With 10 teams, the CEBL becomes the largest professional sports league based entirely in Canada. The CFL has nine teams, and soccer's Canadian Premier League has eight.

The CEBL launched in 2019 with six franchises: Edmonton, Hamilton, Guelph, Fraser Valley (Abbotsford, B.C.), Saskatchewan (Saskatoon) and Niagara (St. Catharines, Ont.).

Ottawa was added before the 2020 season.

“St. John’s and the surrounding area is known to be an outstanding sports community with exceptional fan support, so we’re excited to bring the best pro basketball in Canada outside of the NBA to Newfoundland,” Mike Morreale, commissioner and chief executive officer of the CEBL, said in a statement.

The Growlers are owned by Deacon Sports and Entertainment, which also owns pro hockey's Newfoundland Growlers of the ECHL.

The ECHL Growlers are returning to the Mary Brown's Centre in St. John's after being displaced to start the season when staff at St. John's Sports and Entertainment, which runs Mary Brown's Centre, brought forward allegations of workplace misconduct by Deacon Sports employees.

Deacon Sports and SJSE said in a joint statement that the team was cleared to return after playing its first six home games of the season in Conception Bay South, N.L.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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