River Lions set for ninth season of pro basketball in Niagara

 The team’s 2023 home opener at Meridian Centre, in downtown St. Catharines, is June 3 against Saskatchewan. Photo credit: Facebook/Niagara River Lions


It’s hard to believe the Niagara River Lions are entering their ninth season. 

The professional basketball franchise’s first four were under the National Basketball League of Canada brand, the last four in the CEBL – Canadian Elite Basketball League. 

The CEBL is the largest Canadian pro sporting league with 10 teams from Vancouver in the west to Montreal in the east. 

And on that note, for the first time in its history, the CEBL will feature an Eastern and Western Conference.

Niagara, Brampton (formerly Hamilton) Honey Badgers, Ottawa Blackjacks, Scarborough Shooting Stars and Montreal Alliance make up the east, while the Calgary (formerly Guelph) Surge, Edmonton Stingers, Saskatchewan Rattlers, Vancouver Bandits and Winnipeg Solar Bears are the five teams in the west. 

The River Lions officially released their 20-game 2023 schedule this week, and tip-off their campaign on a three-game road trip starting with the season opener in Montreal on May 26, before heading west to take on Calgary followed by a trip to Edmonton.

The River Lions home opener at Meridian Centre, in downtown St. Catharines, is June 3 against Saskatchewan.

With the new schedule model, the River Lions will play conference opponents Montréal, Scarborough, and Brampton three times each, and then match up against Ottawa four times, two at home and two on the road.

Niagara will play western opponents Calgary and Saskatchewan two times each, and Winnipeg and Vancouver once.

The River Lions are looking forward to their fifth season in the CEBL after finishing the 2022 campaign in second place with a (13-7) record.  

“Our Front Office team and Head Coach and General Manager, Victor Raso have been busy preparing for the 2023 season, and today’s announcement puts us one step closer,” said Jeffrey Sotiriou, president of the team.

“We are looking forward to our fifth season in the CEBL as we continue to bring high level basketball and top tier entertainment to fans across Niagara, while working towards our goal of bringing home a CEBL Championship.”

The 2023 Championship Weekend will take place in Vancouver from August 11-13. 

Host Vancouver, along with the top-ranked team from the Eastern Conference, will automatically be seeded into the semifinals.

The CEBL postseason will feature play-in games between the third and fourth-ranked teams in each conference. Winners will advance to the quarterfinals and play the second-best team of their respective conferences. The fifth-ranked team in each conference will be eliminated unless Vancouver places fifth in the west in which case the fourth-ranked west team will get eliminated. Quarterfinal winners in each conference will play their respective conference teams already seeded in the semifinals. The full postseason schedule will be revealed in the coming months.

All games including playoffs will be live streamed on CEBL’s OTT platform, CEBL+, and on CEBL Mobile, the official app of the CEBL (available on Android and iOS devices). 

A schedule of nationally televised games will be released at a later date.

Highlights of the Niagara River Lions schedule include:

·       A total of 20 regular-season games during the 10-week Campaign

·       Ten home games at Meridian Centre; ten away games

·       Three Saturday, two Friday, one Thursday and one Tuesday night home games

·       Two Sunday afternoon home games

·       One home, school day game on Friday June 23rd at 11:00am

·       River Lions will have a four-game homestand in June starting with the Home Opener hosting Saskatchewan, followed by Scarborough, Vancouver, and Montréal

·       Final home game at Meridian Centre is Friday, July 28 against the Montréal Alliance

Niagara River Lions season tickets and voucher packs are on sale now. Group tickets and single game tickets will be available in the coming months. Ticket information can be found at or by calling 289-273-5905.


Date                                                   Time (ET)       Opponent                 Place

Saturday June 3, 2023                       7:00pm          vs. Saskatchewan     Meridian Centre

Thursday June 8, 2023                       7:00pm          vs. Scarborough        Meridian Centre

Saturday June 10, 2023                     7:00pm          vs. Vancouver            Meridian Centre

Tuesday June 13, 2023                      7:00pm          vs. Montreal              Meridian Centre

Friday June 23, 2023                         11:00am        vs. Calgary                Meridian Centre (School Day Game)

Saturday June 24, 2023                     7:00pm          vs. Ottawa                  Meridian Centre

Friday July 7, 2023                           7:00pm          vs. Brampton             Meridian Centre

Sunday July 9, 2023                          3:00pm          vs. Scarborough        Meridian Centre

Sunday July 23, 2023                       3:00pm          vs. Ottawa                 Meridian Centre

Friday July 28, 2023                          7:00pm          vs. Montreal              Meridian Centre

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