Two Maritime teams will not be playing in the National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC) this season.
The league announced Friday it had granted the Saint John Riptide and Cape Breton Highlanders the leave as they look to restructure and improve their financial capacity with the intention of returning for the league's 10th season in 2020-21. It reduces the league from 10 to eight squads for 2019-20.
“The NBLC recognizes the positive contributions of the Saint John Riptide and Cape Breton Highlanders to the league over the past several seasons and will support their efforts in taking a season off to establish a solid structure going forward,” said deputy commissioner Audley Stephenson.
It leaves three teams in the Maritimes, including reigning champion Moncton Magic, Halifax Hurricanes and the Island Storm. There are also teams in St. John’s, N.L., plus four in Ontario in London, Sudbury, Kitchener-Waterloo and Windsor.
The Highlanders and Riptide protected players will be released and they are free to sign with any other team as a free agent.
Those players include Cape Breton’s Bruce Massey, Jamal Reynolds, Aaron Redpath, Sam Muldrow, Charles Strowbrige, Chris Johnson and Jabari Craig, plus Saint John’s T.J. Maston, Bryce Washington, Frank Bartley, Jeremiah Mordi, Kemy Osse, Marvin Binney and Randy Phillips.