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NBL Canada - A Truly Canadian League

June 17, 2013 - National Basketball League of Canada (NBL Canada) News Release

(TORONTO, ON ) The game of basketball was invented by a Canadian, Dr. James Naismith. The first ever NBA game was held in Toronto, Ontario between the Toronto Huskies and the New York Knickerbockers in 1946. Canada has played an integral role in the growth of the sport of basketball, and is now poised for what some are calling 'the golden era of basketball in Canada.'

The National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC) is proud to be a Canadian-based corporation, a Canadian-based league with Canadian owners, and to provide opportunities for Canadian players, coaches, and officials; as well as to entertain Canadian fan bases across the country.

The league is heading into it's third season this fall and now features ten (10) teams from ten different cities & towns stretching from Windsor, Ontario to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Newly added expansion teams include the Ottawa SkyHawks from the nation's capital and the Brampton A's from Ontario. The Power have been relocated this season to Mississauga, Ontario.

The NBLC has featured fifty-five (55) Canadian players in it's first two seasons from nine (9) different provinces across Canada: Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. Thirty-one (31) of those players came from the Canadian College systems (CIS-AUS-CCAA). The NBLC plays it's games according to FIBA rules.

Twenty-five (25) Canadians have served on the coaching staffs of NBL Canada teams:

Gerry Brumpton

Aaron McDonald

Shannon Hansen

Daniel Freiberg

Les Berry

Colter Simmonds

Paul Vaughn

Jim Palmer

Randy Loatman

Aaron Drummond

Barry Short

Pascal Jobin

Ali Haidar

Vito Frijia

Michael Frijia

Serge Langis

Nico Loureiro

Pascal Jobin

Mike Leslie

Will Njoku

Jerry Neree

The NBL Canada has given over 50 officials the opportunity to gain valuable experience refereeing professional games. The NBL Canada teams also employ Canadian management, gameday operations staff, salespeople, administrators, dance teams, mascots, and more. Our sponsors are Canadian companies, and of course, our fans are everyday Canadian citizens as well:

Western Expansion?

The NBL Canada is currently in negotiations to play a series of preseason exhibition games in western provinces this year. Over the past two seasons there has been a number of interested groups that have inquired about the NBLC expanding out west. It is without a doubt on the radar for the NBL Canada to have a western Canadian division in place within the next 1-3 years.

Growing Canadian Partnerships:

The league is currently a partner of Canada Basketball, and all member teams work closely with their own provincial associations and minor basketball organizations. NBLC professional players and coaches in each market inspire youth to participate in the sport of basketball and provide valuable training at basketball camps and clinics. In a similar way to the Toronto Raptors and the Vancouver Grizzlies, the NBLC teams are 'lighting the spark' for our young people to pursue the sport of basketball and to be able dream about playing it professionally after college!

The NBL Canada provides a valuable conduit for Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) graduate players to continue their careers on a professional level at home.

The NBL Canada is looking forward to growing their relationship with these vital Canadian institutions each year as the league grows.

Increasing Minimum Canadian Content? :

The league allows for unlimited Canadian players on every roster and last season had a minimum requirement of at least three (3) Canadian players. The NBL Canada owners vote each June to decide the minimum Canadian players required for the upcoming season.

Here are some quotes from a few of the domestic players in the NBL Canada on what the league has meant to them in particular:

Papa Oppong (Mississauga Power), 6'4 shooting guard from Pickering, Ontario:

"This league is like the greatest thing that's happened for me personally. To be able to stay in my home country and earn a living playing professional basketball is a blessing."

Mike Anderson (Saint John Mill Rats), 6'4 shooting guard from the University of New Brunswick - Fredericton:

" It's a great league to have around here for sure, its been a long time coming. We needed something like this in Canada, and its a good thing it came here. I was right out of university and it came to my hometown so it was perfect for me."

Courtney Small (Mississauga Power), 6'2 guard from Durham College:

"It gives me a change to represent my home country. It's a great step forward for Canadian basketball and for myself. The league has definitely brought my skills up a lot more by playing with the Americans too. A lot of the guys are (NCAA) division one players and have played a lot of overseas basketball. It gives me a lot of experience against guys who have played big time basketball, and to do it in Canada at home. I get to stay home with my family, train with my home trainer, and play basketball in front of my home fans."

Doug McKinney (Summerside Storm), 6'8 forward from the University of Prince Edward Island:

"The NBL Canada to me is definitely something special. Getting an opportunity to play at a high level and so close to home is definitely something that I try not to take for granted. It's special for sure, I get to play a sport that I love and also get to meet a lot of great guys."

Damian Buckley (Montreal Jazz), 5'10 point guard from Concordia University:

"The NBL Canada for me is the ultimate remedy for the growth of Canadian basketball and where Canadians can dream about playing pro ball."

Greg Surmacz (Windsor Express), 6'8 forward from the University of Windsor:

"I've played overseas, I've played in Europe and South America, and this (NBLC) has to rank up there as one of the best atmospheres I've ever played in."

Antwi Atuahene (London Lightning), 6'3 guard from Mississauga, ON:

"The NBL Canada means a lot to me because it gives me a chance to pursue my professional basketball career in front of my friends and family. I have been gone overseas and to the US for basketball so a lot of my family and friends have never gotten the chance to see my progression in person. This has been an amazing platform for Canadians to do what they love right in their own backyard!"

Kamar Burke (Moncton Miracles), 6'5 guard from the University of British Columbia:

"Being able to compete against great talent on a daily basis is truly a blessing and not having to leave the country to do so makes us Canadians appreciate what this league has done. I'm glad I had the opportunity to play in this tough league. I've learned a lot and became a much better player all-around. Canadians should be very grateful because we can now continue to play professional basketball and stay close to home during the season."

Garbage Time or Integral Contributors ?

Are the Canadian players in the NBL Canada "garbage time" players (as some critics have alluded) or real contributors to their teams? Here are the facts:

*38 of the 55 Canadian Players have started for their respective teams.

*10 Canadian Players have been named to the NBL Canada All Star Game.

*11 Canadian Players averaged in double figures in scoring in the NBLC: Joey Haywood (14.3), Papa Oppong (12.8), Greg Surmacz (12.2), Tut Ruach (12.1), Kevin Francis (12.0), Chris Cayole (12.0), Micah Brand (11.9), Manix Auriantal (11.6), Terence Licorish (10.4), Kevin Loiselle (10.0), and Juan Mendez (10.0)

*8 Canadian Players have been in the top twenty (20) in rebounds per game in the NBLC: Greg Surmacz (8.6), Kevin Loiselle (8.3), Terence Licorish (7.1), Micah Brand (7.0), Jonas Pierre (6.4), Ricky Volcy (6.1), Kevin Francis (5.7), and Paul Campbell (5.5).

*Four NBLC players have played for Team Canada: Will Njoku, Richard Anderson, Jeff Ferguson, and Juan Mendez.

These players have earned these achievements playing against a league where 26% of the players have played in, or been drafted in, the NBA or the NBA Development League. And 61% of the players have played NCAA Division 1 college basketball.

Here is a composite list of all Canadian players who have suited up in the National Basketball League of Canada in just the first two seasons:

Canadian Players Hometown College

Antwi Atuahene Mississauga, ON Arizona State

Chris Cayole Burlington, VT St. Michaels

Christian Upshaw Halifax, NS St. Francis Xavier

Collin Whitely North York, ON Georgia Brown College

Cordell Jeanty Toronto, ON Dawson College

Courtney Small Oshawa, ON Durham College

Damian Buckley Montreal, QC Concordia University

Dane Smith Toronto, ON Tennessee-Martin

David Collins Toronto, ON Bradley

David Yul Michel Montreal, QC Brandon University

Doug McKinney Charlottetown, PE University of Prince Edward Island

Drew Stratton Quispamsis, NB Dalhousie University

Dwayne Buckley Montreal, QC Concordia University

Filose Tshimbomba Montreal, QC Edouard- Montpetit

Greg Surmacz Windsor, ON University of Windsor

Hamza Ruhezamihigo Edmonton, AL Concordia University

Isaac Kuon Mississauga, ON University of Windsor

Jean-Richard Volcy Montreal, QC E. Michigan

Jeff Ferguson Toronto, ON Pikeville College

Jerome Brown Toronto, ON Panloa JC

Joey Haywood Vancouver, BC St. Mary's University

Jonas Pierre Montreal, QC Lincoln College

Josh Whyte Calgary, AL University of British Columbia

Juan Mendez Montreal, QC Niagara

Kamar Burke Mississauga, ON University of British Columbia

Kevin Shand Toronto, ON Duquesne

Kevin Francis Brampton, ON Cleveland State

Kevin Loiselle Montreal, QC University of Maine-Fort kent

Ljubisa Vrcelj Windsor, ON Jacksonville

LP Levros Montreal, QC Community College of Rhode Island

Manix Auriantal Montreal, QC New York Tech

Marc-Daniel Renelique Montreal, QC N. Michigan

Matt Robertson Moncton, NB Saint Thomas

Micah Brand Middletown, NY University of Massachusetts

Mike Anderson Grand-Bay, NB University of New Brunswick Fredericton

Mike King Guelph, ON Wisconsin-Green Bay

Nick Lother Winnipeg, MB University of Manitoba

Osvaldo Jeanty Ottawa, ON Carleton University

Papa Oppong Pickering, ON E. Kentucky

Pat Sewell London, ON University of Toronto

Paul Campbell Toronto, ON Hawaii

Quincy Okolie Palm Beach, FL Northwood

Ricardo Dunkley Kitchener, ON Ryerson College

Richard Anderson Ottawa, ON Simon Fraser

Shamus Ferguson Toronto, ON University of Ottawa

Sheray Thomas Montreal, QC Kentucky

Terence Licorish Toronto, ON McMaster University

Tristan Martin Toronto, ON University of Houston

Troy Gottselig Findlater, SK University of Saskatchewan

Tut Ruach Toronto, ON York University

Tyler Richards Halifax, NS St. Francis Xavier

Tyler Murray Toronto, ON Wagner

Will Njoku Halifax, NS St. Mary's University

Willy Manigat Montreal, QC Carleton University

Yannick Anzuluni Ottawa, ON Houghton

Canadian Player Day at the 2013 NBL Canada Draft:

Saturday August 17, 2013 has been reserved for Canadian Players at the NBL Canada Pre-Draft Combine. If you believe YOU have what it takes to make it in the National Basketball League of Canada, sign up TODAY!

For more details on how to register for the draft combine, please visit!

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National Basketball League of Canada Stories from June 17, 2013

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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