Via Press Release
LANGLEY — The Fraser Valley Bandits announced Thursday that the club has chosen Langley Events Centre (LEC) as its home for the upcoming Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) season, which begins May 2022.
As the new home of professional basketball in B.C., LEC builds upon its history of showcasing the province’s best players by now featuring some of Canada’s premier pro athletes during the CEBL’s May-August season, as well as emerging amateur boys and girls who compete annually at the B.C. High School Basketball Championships hosted at LEC.
“Today is a special opportunity to celebrate and usher in a new chapter in British Columbia’s rich basketball history. The sport’s roots run deep in B.C., from the Okanagan to Vancouver Island, and especially here in the Fraser Valley,” said CEBL commissioner and CEO Mike Morreale.
“We have consistently seen this region produce some of the province’s leading U SPORTS athletes, as well as boys and girls that have gone on to represent Canada in the NBA, WNBA and in Olympic competition. The arrival of the Bandits at LEC cements the notion that Langley is the capital of basketball in B.C. through its status as the home of competitive youth basketball played across the venue’s multitude of courts, its hosting of provincial championships, U SPORTS and now one of the CEBL’s most exciting teams to watch in the Bandits.”
Fraser Valley completed the club’s third CEBL season at Championship Weekend in Edmonton this past August.
The Bandits were one of the league’s top teams throughout the regular season, finishing the campaign with a 5-2 record at home, which was punctuated by a 104-84 quarterfinal playoff victory in front of a sold-out crowd at Abbotsford Centre on August 15.
“The Township of Langley is pleased to welcome the Fraser Valley Bandits to their new home court. Sports help us create healthy and successful communities. Having the CEBL at Langley Events Centre gives residents an exciting opportunity to see professional basketball close to home and can help inspire youth players to take up the sport,” said Jack Froese, Mayor of the Township of Langley.
Abbotsford Centre previously served as the team’s home since July 2018 when the Bandits were launched ahead of the CEBL’s inaugural 2019 season, which featured six teams in Abbotsford, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Guelph, Hamilton and St. Catharines. The successful inaugural campaign saw the Bandits finish among the league’s best in average attendance, which set a promising precedent ahead of the 2020 CEBL season.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, basketball took a backseat to life’s more pressing issues and the CEBL’s second season was delayed until July when the CEBL hosted the 2020 CEBL Summer Series. The condensed season saw the CEBL become the first Canadian professional sports league to return to play following the start of the pandemic. In conjunction with the CEBL’s multi-year partnership with CBC, the Bandits played in three nationally-televised games. All regular season and postseason games were available for domestic and international audiences stemming from around the globe on CBC Gem, cbcsports.ca and Twitch. .This past season, CEBL+ was launched as the league’s very own OTT service designed to offer Canada and the globe’s fervent basketball fanbase live CEBL action and behind-the-scenes access to the league’s teams and stars.
Despite falling 84-82 in a riveting semifinal against Niagara at 2021 Championship Weekend, the Bandits have earned a reputation as one of the CEBL’s grittiest and personable teams on and off the court.
Thanks to an electric live game day experience featuring pyrotechnics, non-stop music and edge-of-your-seat highlights, further complimented by an engaging digital and social media brand presence, the Bandits have built one of the CEBL’s most engaged fanbases. The dedication of Bandits fans, who stem from across the Lower Mainland, was evident when the Bandits became the first professional sports team in B.C. to welcome fans back in stands on July 14, 2021. Through swift collaboration and communication with local health authorities, Fraser Valley gave fans a chance to cheer on their favourite club in accordance with a 50 per cent capacity guideline.
The sold-out affair saw 2,200 strong witness an emphatic 92-71 victory against the Guelph Nighthawks and set the tone for the Bandits to sellout all four of the home games hosted by the club with fans permitted to attend in 2021.
With its arrival at the state-of-the-art LEC, Fraser Valley will continue to give its dedicated fan base an impressive game day experience, while also capitalizing on the resources of the venue. LEC is also home to the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Vancouver Giants, the Langley Thunder, Trinity Western University’s U SPORTS competing teams, as well as Basketball BC headquarters and a variety of user groups, clubs and high school teams that frequent the venue on a weekly basis.