Professional basketball is coming to Montreal. The Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) announced Wednesday that the Montreal Alliance is being added as its ninth franchise and will begin play in 2022 at Verdun Auditorium.
“Montreal has evolved into one of the strongest regions for basketball in the country, and we are very excited to fuel that growth by bringing a pro franchise to the city,” said Mike Morreale, Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of the CEBL. “The refurbished historic Verdun Auditorium is an ideal setting for our fan-friendly entertainment experience. Montreal sports fans will see the best pro basketball in Canada outside of the NBA competing in one of the top FIBA leagues in the world.”
Montreal joins Scarborough in the second round of CEBL expansion since the league launched prior to the 2019 season in Edmonton, Hamilton, Guelph, Fraser Valley (Abbotsford), Saskatchewan (Saskatoon), and Niagara (St. Catharines). Ottawa was added prior to the 2020 season. Quebec becomes the fifth province to serve as home to a CEBL team in what is Canada’s first true coast-to-coast national pro basketball league.
The Montreal Alliance is led by veteran Montreal sports executive Annie Larouche, who becomes Vice President, Operations after serving as Director, Montreal Operations for the CEBL Office since February. Larouche will report to Josh Knoester, Vice President, Operations for the CEBL under the league’s single entity ownership model. A native of Montreal, Larouche served for 25 years with the Montreal Alouettes as Executive Director of the Alouettes Foundation and Director of Community Relations, Cheerleading Team and Alumni Association. She also served key roles in public and community relations, communications, and marketing.
“I am pleased to represent this new CEBL basketball franchise in Montreal, and I am proud of the work we have accomplished thus far to create an identity true to Montreal’s community,” said Larouche. I am thrilled to think that a professional basketball team in Montreal will become a source of inspiration for our youth.”
Larouche’s experience has included staff roles with the Montreal Machine, the sole Canadian team in the World League of American Football, the Montreal Dragons of the National Basketball League that existed in 1993 and 1994, the Montreal Roadrunners of the Roller Hockey International League, the Le Mission de St-Jean hockey club, and the L’Express lacrosse team. She also collaborated through the years with the Montreal Rockets hockey club, Interbox, and the National Hockey League.
The team nickname, Alliance, was chosen to reflect Montreal’s mosaic of municipalities and communities that together are an alliance that make Montreal one of the world’s great cities. That interdependence creates a vibrant, dynamic, leading metropolitan area. Montreal is a city that embraces individuality and diversity, yet when it comes to supporting its local sports teams, people come together to form an alliance in support of the teams.
The interdependence of elements that form a thriving city, and that players on a successful team must have to achieve its goals, is reflected in the Alliance’s brand representation of a wolf, an animal common in Quebec. Wolves form an alliance to take care of each other and to hunt prey. An individual wolf is fierce, hungry, and unrelenting. Yet, like a city or a sports team, the wolf pack embodies what it means to be a member of an alliance. via CEBL.COM