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The Blackjacks, Ottawa's new basketball team, announce first training camp

(Via Ottawa Blackjacks)

The Ottawa BlackJacks of the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) announcedFriday their first-ever training camp will be held at TD Place Arena in the nation’s capital from July 17-22, 2020.

With more than three-quarters of its team roster and basketball operation staff currently residing in Ottawa, and under strict adherence with local, provincial and federal health regulations, the BlackJacks will prepare for the upcoming CEBL Summer Seriesin their home market. Each of the seven CEBL franchises was given the opportunity to hold its training camp at home under the condition the club conforms to all the detailed medical protocols that have been put in place for St. Catharines, site of the league’s training camp for all clubs not holding camp in their home city, by the Niagara Region Chief Medical Officer and the medical task force overseeing the health and safety of the Summer Series participants. The remaining six teams have confirmed they will hold training camp in St. Catharines, the site of the CEBL 2020 Summer Series, as announced by the league office last week.

Ottawa BlackJacks Training Camp Schedule
July 16 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Media Day
July 17 9-11 a.m. Training Session
July 18 9-11 a.m. Training Session
July 19 9-11 a.m. Training Session
July 20 9-11 a.m. Training Session
July 21 9-11 a.m. Training Session
July 22 9-11 a.m. Training Session

The BlackJacks will travel to Niagara Region on July 23 to complete training camp and prepare for the round robin competition that will culminate in crowning the second-year league’s 2020 champion. The timing of the CEBL 2020 Summer Series, subject to the status of the province of Ontario’s phased in reopening, will make the CEBL the first professional league in Canada to return to play following the COVID-19 outbreak in March.

The CEBL, Ottawa BlackJacks and Ottawa Sports & Entertainment Group have collaborated to ensure appropriate protocols have been designed with guidance from FIBA, The World Health Organization, the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, Ottawa Public Health and Niagara Region Public Health.

The 26-game CEBL Summer Series tips off Saturday, July 25 as the Ottawa BlackJacks play their first game in franchise history as part of a nationally televised double-header on CBC. Ottawa will face the Guelph Nighthawks at 3:50 p.m. following the opening game between the Hamilton Honey Badgers and Niagara River Lions, which starts at 1:30 p.m.

As the premier media partner of the CEBL, CBC Sports will offer live streams of all games to audiences across Canada via the free CBC Gem streaming service, cbcsports.ca and the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices. CBC will also provide broadcast coverage of select games. The CEBL and CBC announced a three-year partnership on November 26, 2019 that includes broadcast and streaming coverage each season.

All seven teams will be accommodated in St. Catharines, playing games at the Meridian Centre, and practicing at a nearby facility. Teams will be separated from the general public, and strict screening and COVID-19 protocols will be adhered to under the supervision of medical officials. Extensive health and safety measures will be maintained for the participants, including social distancing and other specialized practices designed to limit interactions amongst participants. The 2020 CEBL season has been on delay since mid-April with its originally scheduled tipoff date of May 7.

“I am proud of the work our league office and seven CEBL franchises have made to establish a safe return to play. We continue to make decisions through the recommendations from healthcare professionals. I am confident the Ottawa BlackJacks will host a local training camp with its partners and medical experts that is safe, fair, and will mirror the experience in St. Catharines for our other six teams.”
- Mike Morreale, Commissioner and CEO
Canadian Elite Basketball League

“The CEBL has done an immense amount of work over the past three months to create the necessary guidelines for the safe return to basketball. With the majority of our team being homegrown talent, we believe Ottawa is the logical place to host our inaugural training camp. The safety of our players, staff and stakeholders remain top priority. We will cautiously move forward adhering to all protocols established by health professionals. I would like to thank Commissioner Mike Morreale, Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, and mostly the heroic frontline workers who have put us in a safe position to return.”
- Michael Cvitkovic, President
Ottawa BlackJacks Professional Basketball Club

“We were happy to work on a return-to-play protocol with the BlackJacks and the CEBL in order to ensure that their players, staff and our employees will be kept safe during the BlackJack’s inaugural training camp at TD Place. We wish them well in this shortened season and look forward to their official launch at TD Place for the 2021 season.”
- Mark Goudie, President and CEO
Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group


About the Ottawa BlackJacks
The first expansion franchise of the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL), the Ottawa BlackJacks will showcase the best of basketball and entertainment in the nation’s capital. Basketball Operations will be led by General Manager, Dave Smart, the most successful university coach in Canadian history with a total of 13 national titles at Carleton University. The BlackJacks will be a team deeply rooted in the Ottawa / Gatineau community. Head Coach Osvaldo Jeanty, a former student-athlete who captured five national championships as a player for Dave Smart, will bring together a group of professionals poised for success in its inaugural season. The BlackJacks will play its home games out of the world-class Arena at TD Place. For more information visit www.theblackjacks.ca.

About Canadian Elite Basketball League
The Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) features world-class professional basketball in a fan-friendly entertainment environment across seven cities in Canada. The 2019 inaugural season saw more than 100 Canadian and international players take to the court, culminating with the Saskatchewan Rattlers earning the first CEBL championship trophy. CEBL players come from NBA G-League clubs, top NCAA programs, the Canadian national program, U SPORTS and other Division 1 FIBA leagues. The CEBL is the First Division Professional League partner of Canada Basketball.