(LONDON, ON) – The National Basketball League of Canada hosted its annual spring meeting June 5 and 6 at its headquarters in London. Reports indicate it was a very productive two-day event with improvements and enhancements scheduled for the upcoming 7th season.
Over the past six seasons, the league has been very cognizant of increasing the Canadian percentage of players in a manner which will allow the league to support the growth of basketball in Canada, while not negatively impacting the game fans passionately love and support. This past season a record number of Canadians suited up in uniform and their impact was felt.
The championship London Lightning started three Canadians and played four in their rotation. With this reality the league has announced that this season each team will carry a mandatory minimum of five Canadians at all times.
With the increase in the number of teams, injuries, and standard player moves, the NBL expects as many as 70 Canadians suited up in the NBL this coming season.
START OF THE SEASON
After two years of starting the season on Boxing Day, the NBL has decided to move the season back to start on or around November 18.
The reasoning is that the good weather in the spring has proven to be too much of a competitor for fans’ attention. When the weather breaks spectators are excited to be outside to enjoy it, work on yards, cook out, go to cottages, and watch their children in spring sports.
Additionally, it will should be easier to get and keep players as most winter leagues have started earlier and the league has lost good players to other leagues with earlier start dates overseas.
LENGTH OF THE SEASON
This year the NBL will be expanding the season by two weeks. The regular season will end on or before April 2. This increase in length will allow the league to work with the various venues and secure more weekend dates. It will also provide a modest increase in the salary caps for players.
The same playoff schedule will be followed.
- Round 1 – Best-of-5
- Conference Finals – Best-of-7
- Championship Series – Best-of-7
The top four teams in each conference will qualify for the playoffs, increasing the intensity and importance of the regular season.
INJURED RESERVE RULE
The Injured Reserve Rule is being replaced with a simpler and easier to enforce Inactive Player Rule.
- Each team may keep up to twelve Active Players
- Each team may keep up to three additional Inactive Players
Inactive players will be paid and a portion of the inactive player’s salary will count against the salary cap. This is a similar rule that the NBA has and is much easier to enforce at a league level.
PUBLIC RULE BOOK
A new, simplified rulebook is being created. This book will be available online for fans to download, plus a copy will be at every scorer’s table.
In an attempt to continue the improvements of referees, the league will continue to recruit additional talent to the growing pool of referees. Last season a record 12 rookie referees were added. As well, all referees will go through standard fitness testing.
The review process of game calling, which coaches participated in last season, will be enhanced this year.
Coaching boxes will be put down 5 feet from the end of each bench.
An emphasis on coach/player respect for the game and officials will be strongly enforced.