Five is the magic number for a budding Canadian professional basketball league.
If the Halifax Rainmen, Saint John Mill Rats and Quebec Kebs are going to form their own circuit after disassociating with the Premier Basketball League last week, they say they need to find at least two more franchises to make it work.
The primary targets are Moncton and London, Ont.
“We’re exploring (ownership groups) that have reached out to us and said they’re interested in having a franchise,” said Mill Rats president Ian McCarthy. “We had seven (teams) in the PBL this year and had a successful season, so the minimum is probably five.”
City of Moncton representatives have publicly endorsed adding a pro basketball franchise, while McCarthy and Rainmen owner Andre Levingston are travelling to London today to meet with a prospective ownership group.
“For it to be a Canadian league, we would want it to be more than just the Maritimes,” McCarthy said. “Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick would give us four provinces.”
In a perfect world, a new league would have two divisions, one featuring Maritime teams â€” the Rainmen, Mill Rats and Moncton â€” and another featuring the Kebs and additional teams from Quebec and Ontario.
Schedules weighted on intra-divisional play would heighten rivalries and reduce travel costs.
McCarthy also suggested Sydney and Charlottetown as ideal cities in the Maritimes, as well as Mississauga and Oshawa in Ontario. He also didn’t rule out the possibility of an American entry.
“We’re just trying to see how it plays out and which markets have real owners interested in joining, and seeing if it could work out to have that footprint,” McCarthy said.
“We’ll just see where it takes us.”