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.

The National Basketball League of Canada has added a new franchise and a handful of games to its schedule.

At the annual owners meeting in Toronto on Thursday, the league officially approved Windsor, Ont., as its eighth franchise and increased its schedule from 36 to 40 games while tweaking the playoff format.

It also added a best-of-three first round between the No. 4 and 5 seeds and increased the semifinals from a best-of-three to a best-of-five.

“It definitely gives our partners and our fans added value — we all would like to see more games — and it gives the teams a chance to generate more revenue,” said Andre Levingston, owner of the Halifax Rainmen and the league’s chief executive officer.

The regular season will run from Nov. 1 to March 15, with Windsor joining the London Lightning, Oshawa Power and Quebec Kebs in the Central Division and the Rainmen joining the Saint John Mill Rats, Moncton Miracles and Summerside Storm in the Atlantic Division.

League owners also voted to increase the minimum number of Canadians per team from two to three and approved the transfer of the Kebs from Quebec City to Laval, Que.

“We’re really looking forward to kicking off the season,” Levingston said.

CLOSE TO HOME

The Windsor franchise is close to home for Levingston — he hails from Detroit, just across the Canadian-U.S. border.

“I have some family members who have never had an opportunity to see what I do,” Levingston said. “Now when I’m in Windsor, they can come in and enjoy a game of ball with me.”

More from Sports:

blog comments powered by Disqus