CEBL’s Guelph Nighthawks relocating to Calgary for 2023 season

One of the Canadian Elite Basketball League’s original six franchises is moving across the country.

The league announced on Wednesday that it is relocating the Guelph Nighthawks to Calgary in time for the 2023 season.

The team, which will play out of Calgary’s WinSport Event Centre, will be renamed and rebranded.

Commissioner Mike Morreale said in a press release that the league has been eyeing a move to Calgary “for a long time.”

“Relocating a franchise from our smallest market to Canada’s third-largest city will allow the team to remain financially competitive as our league continues to experience tremendous growth,” Morreale said.

WATCH | Hamilton Honey Badgers win 2022 championship:

Honey Badgers edge Shooting Stars to capture CEBL championship

Hamilton fended off a Scarborough comeback, winning 90-88 to earn their first league championship.

Morreale also said the team will continue to own and operate the franchise, as it does for eight other clubs. The Scarborough Shooting Stars are the only team that is privately owned.

The Nighthawks matched their best-ever season in 2022, finishing the regular season with a .500 record before losing in the quarter-finals.

“The reality is that there is a ceiling in a market of Guelph’s size that will prevent the franchise from being able to compete on a sustained basis,” Morreale said. 

“When we launched the CEBL in 2018, it made sense for Guelph to be among our founding franchises. However, we are moving into the country’s largest markets at a pace much faster than we originally anticipated and the economic realities of pro sports forces us to have to make this difficult decision.”

The league expanded to seven teams with the addition of the Ottawa BlackJacks in 2020, and grew to 10 last season when Scarborough, Newfoundland and Montreal also joined. Guelph was one of five Ontario-based teams, also including Hamilton and Niagara.

Hamilton won the 2022 championship.

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