Hamilton pro basketball team named Honey Badgers, will wear black and gold

Steve MiLton - The Hamilton Spectator - June 12, 2018

Hamilton's new professional basketball franchise will be dressed in traditional city colours — black and gold — and named after a fast, ferocious animal and popular social media meme.

The Hamilton Honey Badgers will play in the Canadian Elite Basketball League which will have also have teams in Guelph, St. Catharines, Saskatoon, Edmonton and Abbotsford, B.C.

There will be 20 games, 10 at home in FirstOntario Centre, but if a seventh team comes in before the league officially launches in May 2019, the schedule will expand by another four games.

It will be a single-division league and the western teams will come east to play and vice-versa, says Hamilton native, Mike Morreale, the former Tiger-Cats receiver, who is the league's CEO.

The CEBL will run a spring/summer schedule and have about "60 to 70 per cent Canadian players," according to Morreale.

The rest of the roster will be made up of imports, but not necessarily just Americans. European, South American and African players will also be courted.

The plan is to attract Canadians who are playing in other professional leagues around the world. They could play in the CEBL only or in addition to their other league play, which usually takes place in the fall and winter, to supplement their incomes.

For the first couple of years, at least, the league itself — financed by Niagara River Lions co-owner Richard Petko and a group of investors — will own all the teams and pay all the expenses. But there will be local management.

John Lashway, a longtime Toronto Raptors executive and later consultant to the Tiger-Cats, is the Honey Badgers' president.

Lashway, who lives Burlington, said that tickets will go on sale in September but, "we're still working on the price range. It will be affordable and we'd like to keep it generally between $10 and $25."

Darrin Conway