Is pro basketball coming to Langley?
With news that the Fraser Valley Bandits of the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) could be displaced from the Abbotsford Centre by the American Hockey League (AHL) Canucks pro hockey franchise, there is been speculation the team could relocate to the Langley Events Centre (LEC).
What is known, is the Bandits haven’t secured a deal to return to the Abbotsford Centre in 2022.
Usually, a deal would be in place by this time of the year, but Bandits vice-president Dylan Kular has said that the transition of the Abbotsford Centre’s management team from Spectra to Canucks Sports and Entertainment has led to delays in reaching an agreement.
Kular said the Bandits and Spectra have done one-year deals every year since the team arrived in 2019, but the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) was hoping to secure longer tenancy agreements with venues in the league’s stronger markets this year.
“This year was going to be the year that we were going to look into a longer deal with the city of Abbotsford and Spectra,” he said. “But the delay has been because of the transition from Spectra to the Canucks. So we will still have our meetings and hopefully we can come to a point where we can still be in Abbotsford, but like any good business we have to evaluate our other options and make the best decision for everyone involved. We will see what happens.”
Sources have told Black Press Media that the Bandits may end up in Langley, but Langley Events Centre communications manager Gary Ahuja was unable to confirm it at this time.
“[LEC is] always talking to interested groups about bringing more sports and events to LEC, but nothing to report in regards to the Bandits at this time,” Ahuja said in response to a Langley Advance Times query.
LEC currently currently hosts Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League, Langley-based Trinity Western University Athletics Basketball and Volleyball, Langley Thunder of the Western Lacrosse Association as well as the junior Thunder teams and the B.C.C High School Basketball Championships.
LEC’s main arena seats 5,276 for sports and is also the home of the Basketball BC office.
Bandits and Basketball BC are partnering to hold the Summer Slam youth basketball tournament next month, and also participated in a Rotary Lottery 50/50 Mega Draw in Langley earlier this month.
With files from Ben Lypka, Black Press Media
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