Ryan Taplin/Metro File Halifax Rainmen point guard Taliek Brown drives the lane against Gabe Freeman and Tim Ellis of the London Lightning in NBL Canada action last season.

Although National Basketball League of Canada officials aimed higher, the minor-pro circuit is expected to grow by just one team next season.

The seven-team league, entering its second season next fall, is expected to approve Windsor, Ont., as its eighth franchise at the annual owners meetings next Wednesday and Thursday in Toronto.

Three other prospective ownership groups in Ontario — based in St. Catharines, Kitchener and Ottawa — are officially out of the picture, while another, based in Mississauga, is not expected to go forward.

Slow growth is not a concern for the league, according to chief operating officer Ian McCarthy.

“We don’t care whether it’s zero or one, we just want the right groups involved,” McCarthy said. “We have a slow-growth model and we want the right groups who are in it for the long haul.”

The ownership group in Windsor has already fronted its $50,000 refundable deposit to join the league and is putting the finishing touches on a lease agreement at WFCU Centre. Once that’s signed, the league’s owners must vote to approve the franchise next week.

All seven founding teams will be back next season, McCarthy confirmed.

FOUNDING SEVEN

Seven existing NBL Canada teams:

* Halifax Rainmen (N.S.)
* London Lightning (Ont.)
* Moncton Miracles (N.B.)
* Oshawa Power (Ont.)
* Quebec Kebs (Que.)
* Saint John Mill Rats (N.B.)
* Summerside Storm (P.E.I.)

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