NIAGARA RIVER LIONS
The Niagara River Lions of the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) announced Tuesday its 20-game 2023 season schedule presented by Crime Stoppers Niagara. The River Lions open the CEBL campaign on a three-game road trip, starting with the season opener versus the Montreal Alliance on May 26 before heading west to take on the expansion franchise, the Calgary Surge, followed by the Edmonton Stingers. River Lions return to the Meridian Centre on June 3 for their home opener versus the Saskatchewan Rattlers.
The River Lions are highly anticipating their fifth season in the CEBL after a successful 2022 summer. Finishing in second place during the regular season with a record of 13-7, the team advanced to Championship Weekend in Ottawa, where they were eliminated by the Scarborough Shooting Stars in the semi-finals.
“Our front office team and head coach and general manager Victor Raso have been busy preparing for the 2023 season, and today’s announcement puts us one step closer,” said Jeffrey Sotiriou, president of the team. “We are looking forward to our fifth season in the CEBL as we continue to bring high-level basketball and top-tier entertainment to fans across Niagara, while working towards our goal of bringing home a CEBL Championship.”
In addition to the 2023 schedule, the CEBL has today announced a conference model of competition for its fifth season. The league’s 10 teams are divided into an Eastern and Western Conference. The Western Conference includes the Calgary Surge, Edmonton Stingers, Saskatchewan Rattlers, Vancouver Bandits and Winnipeg Sea Bears. The Eastern Conference includes the Brampton Honey Badgers, Montréal Alliance, Niagara River Lions, Ottawa BlackJacks, and Scarborough Shooting Stars.
With the new model, River Lions will play conference opponents Montréal, Scarborough, and Brampton three times each, while they will match up against Ottawa four times, two home and two away.
The River Lions will play western opponents Calgary and Saskatchewan two times each, and Winnipeg and Vancouver just once.
The 2023 Championship Weekend will take place in Vancouver from Aug. 11-13. Host Vancouver, along with the top-ranked team from the Eastern Conference, will automatically be seeded into the semi-finals hosted at Championship Weekend.
The CEBL postseason will feature play-in games between the third and fourth-ranked teams in each conference. Winners will advance to the quarterfinals and play the second-best team of their respective conferences. The fifth-ranked team in each conference will be eliminated unless Vancouver places fifth in the west, in which case the fourth-ranked west team will get eliminated. Quarterfinal winners in each conference will play their respective conference teams already seeded in the semi-finals. The full postseason schedule will be revealed in the coming months.
All games, including playoffs, will be livestreamed on CEBL’s OTT platform, CEBL, and on CEBL Mobile, the official app of the CEBL (available on Android and iOS devices). A schedule of nationally televised games will be released at a later date.
Highlights of the Niagara River Lions schedule include:
- A total of 20 regular-season games during the 10-week campaign
- Ten home games at Meridian Centre; 10 away games
- Three Saturday, two Friday, one Thursday and one Tuesday night home games
- Two Sunday afternoon home games
- One home, school day game on Friday, June 23, at 11 a.m.
- River Lions will have a four-game homestand in June, starting with the Home Opener hosting Saskatchewan, followed by Scarborough, Vancouver, and Montréal
- Final home game at Meridian Centre is Friday, July 28, versus Montréal Alliance
Niagara River Lions season tickets and voucher packs are on sale now. Group tickets and single-game tickets will be available in the coming months. Ticket information can be found at riverlions.ca/tickets or 289-273-5905.
A league created by Canadians for Canadians with a mission to develop Canadian players, coaches, sports executives and referees, the CEBL boasts the highest percentage of Canadian players of any pro league in the country, with 71 per cent of its 2022 rosters being Canadian. Players bring experience from the NBA, NBA G League, top international pro leagues, the Canadian National team program, and top NCAA programs, as well as U SPORTS. Nine players have moved from the CEBL into the NBA following a CEBL season, and 28 CEBL players attended NBA G League training camps during October. The CEBL season runs from May through August. More information is available at CEBL.ca and @cebleague on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.
For full schedule and details, visit riverlions.ca/schedule.