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Bathurst welcomes pro basketball franchise

·1 min read
On Wednesday, the city of Bathurst announced the Bathurst Bears would be part of the Eastern Canadian Basketball League next year. (Eastern Canadian Basketball League/Facebook - image credit)
On Wednesday, the city of Bathurst announced the Bathurst Bears would be part of the Eastern Canadian Basketball League next year. (Eastern Canadian Basketball League/Facebook - image credit)

The city of Bathurst will be home to a professional basketball team next year as the Bathurst Bears become the fifth team to join the Eastern Canadian Basketball League.

The Maritime league also includes The Saint John Union, the Truro Tide, the Annapolis Valley Vipers and the Summerside Slam on Prince Edward Island.

The announcement was made Wednesday at the K.C. Irving Regional Centre in Bathurst.

The season will begin in March 2022 and run until June, with the game schedule to be unveiled in the coming weeks.

The team becomes the first professional sports franchise in the history of the city.

"We want to be here forever," said Tim Kendrick, president of the Eastern Canadian Basketball League, which is run by a management group in New York.

Kendrick said the league hopes to integrate the teams into the host communities.

"We want to help build their cities, their communities and the broader area of their towns."

Bathurst Mayor Kim Chamberlain said no investment was required from the city, with the league set to cover costs.

Kendrick said the player pool is strong, with close to 400 players applying to tryout for the league. These include players with NBA and NCAA experience.

The league aims to have 50 per cent Canadian talent, with the selection camp set for Dec. 18 in Truro, N.S.

"We've already had interest from as far away as Europe, players wanting to come to effectively try out... So that's how deep the player pool will be, and it will literally come from all over the world," said Kendrick.

Kendrick said more news is expected on future franchises, but he did not specify when.

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