Guelph Nighthawks have flown the coop, head out west
The Nighthawks have flown the coop.
Guelph’s entry in the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) announced Aug. 17 the team was being relocated to Calgary for the 2023 season.
The franchise, which will play at WinSport Events Centre, will be rebranded with a new nickname, logo and colours to be unveiled this fall.
“Our organization is very proud of all we accomplished in delivering world class basketball to our fans during our four seasons in Guelph,” said team president Cameron Kusch in a news release.
“The time, commitment and support of Nighthawks basketball by the community of Guelph is something that I will never forget and will be eternally grateful for. I hope that as our organization closes its chapter in Guelph, we can say that we created lasting memories and a positive impact around the game of basketball in our city.”
The Nighthawks posted an overall record of 25-37 (.403) in four seasons, including a 10-10 mark this past season that resulted in an opening round playoff encounter with the Fraser Valley Bandits.
Seeded seventh heading into the playoffs, the Nighthawks upset fourth-seed Fraser Valley before being eliminated by second-seed Niagara in the quarter-finals.
Mike Morreale, commissioner and co-founder of the CEBL, said it made sense for Guelph to be one of the founding teams four years ago.
“However, as the CEBL grows, a team playing in Canada’s 46th largest market simply won’t be able to remain competitive financially with the other teams in the league,” Morreale said.
“While the Nighthawks enjoyed the strong support of Mayor Cam Guthrie, the City of Guelph and the Sleeman Centre staff, there is a ceiling to the market. Relocating to the third-largest city in Canada aligns with our vision for future expansion into tier one markets and enables the CEBL to continue to make a strong impact on the growth of basketball in the country.”
The CEBL launched in 2018 with six teams in four provinces and despite the pandemic, it has expanded to 10 teams in six provinces, making it the largest pro sports league in Canada with further expansion in the planning stages.