The Fraser Valley Bandits will take on the Hamilton Honey Badgers live on CBC on Aug. 1. (Fraser Valley Bandits photo)

Fraser Valley Bandits, CEBL bringing pro sports back later this month

Abbotsford-based basketball team kicks off CEBL Summer Series on July 26

The Canadian Elite Basketball League will be the first professional sports league to return to action in Canada, with games occurring later this month.

The stage has also been set for the Abbotsford-based Fraser Valley Bandits, as the league released its Summer Series schedule earlier this week.

Games tip-off in St. Catharines, Ont. starting on July 25, with the Bandits opening the six-game initial round robin against the Edmonton Stingers on July 26 at 1 p.m. local time.

The Bandits schedule then sees the club challenge the Saskatchewan Rattlers on July 28 at 4:30 p.m., the expansion Ottawa Blackjacks on July 30 at 4 p.m., the Hamilton Honey Badgers on Aug. 1 at 10:30 a.m., the Niagara River Lions on Aug. 2 at 1 p.m. and then finish with the Guelph Nighthawks on Aug. 5 at 2 p.m.

The CEBL team with the worst record will then be eliminated and and a six-team playoff will begin. The top two teams will receive byes, with the third ranked team taking on sixth and four and five squaring off. The CEBL championship game is set for Aug. 9.

Games will not be played in front of fans and teams will be separated from the general public with screening and COVID-19 protocols under the supervision of medical officials in place. Health and safety measures will be maintained for the participants, including social distancing and other specialized practices designed to limit interactions amongst participants.

A handful of games will be broadcast on CBC television, with the Bandits lone TV appearance occurring on Aug. 1 against Hamilton. All other games can be viewed on the CBC Gem streaming service.

“We are excited to bring live sports back to audiences in local communities across the country, who are just as hungry for the return to play as we are,” stated Chris Wilson, Executive Director, Sports & Olympics, CBC. “Our partners at the CEBL have come up with a plan that not only adheres to health and safety restrictions, but takes the competition to the next level. The condensed season means each game means that much more, and we are thrilled to be able to provide a national stage for these athletes and the league. This tournament will be exciting summer entertainment for Canadians at just the right time.”

The 2020 CEBL season has been on delay since mid-April with its originally scheduled tipoff date of May 7. Each club had been scheduled to play a 20-game schedule leading to a final four CEBL Championship Weekend in Edmonton, August 14 to 16.

RELATED: Fraser Valley Bandits won’t play CEBL home games in 2020

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