CEBL Perplexed By Sudden OHL Funding

By Ben Hamill - March 21 2021

CEBL Perplexed By Sudden OHL Funding

Funding to the value of $2.35 million extended to the Ontario Hockey League by government on Wednesday had Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) commissioner Mike Morreale scratching his head in confusion.

According to Lisa McLeod, Ontario’s Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture Industries, the funding would be channeled toward the Ontario Hockey League’s post-secondary education scholarships offered to its athletes. But Morreale says he’s been spending months on end trying to partner with provincial government on funding to help the young CEBL – and to absolutely no avail.

This has now led Morreale to question who exactly qualifies for government funding of this nature, not to mention “why” as well as “why not”.

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Why Not Basketball?

Morreale (49), a former CFL player from Ontario, earlier this week told CBC Sports that since the CEBL is the top domestic league in Canada, people tend to look up to the it. In the event that such an organisation has to struggle to get any sort of funding from government, said Morreale, this could put provincial leaders in an unfavourable light.

The CEBL in April last year requested a $5 million loan from federal government to help it make a two-week return to play in the summer. The request for the loan was however denied. Adding insult to injury, said Morreale on Wednesday, is that the league’s four Ontario-based teams aren’t even asking the province for much, and instead, are seeking but a fraction of what the OHL has now received.

Alarms Are Ringing

Morreale also said that since the fledgling league had not received even as much as a dollar in support from provincial government, the willingness to extend millions to the OHL had certainly made several alarm bells to go off. He did however add that although perplexed by the way things have been handled, he wanted to remain positive and use the announcement as a potential door for government to consider funding sports other than hockey.

Government last year announced $7.2 million in federal funding for the country’s sports sector. Shocking however, was the fact that this funding explicitly excluded pro-leagues such as the CEBL, CPL, and CFL.

Morreale this week said that the league was not yet done asking for funding but was at the same time not interested in “handouts”. The idea has always been to continue that which had already been built by showing the incredible rise and potential of basketball across Canada, insisted Morreale.

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