Niagara River Lions
The Niagara River Lions are a Canadian professional basketball team based in St. Catharines, Ontario, that competes in the Canadian Elite Basketball League. From 2015 to 2018, they were members of the National Basketball League of Canada. The River Lions play their home games at the Meridian Centre in downtown St. Catharines.
|Niagara River Lions|
|History||Niagara River Lions|
|Location||St. Catharines, Ontario|
|Team colours||Green, navy blue, grey |
|Head coach||Victor Raso|
|Ownership||Richard Petko, Michael Skrtich, Jeffrey Sotiriou|
In February 2014, the Niagara Basketball Group started the application process to get a local team. Over a year later, the NBL Canada announced that they would hold a press conference on the morning of April 8, 2015, regarding the expansion team. The group also held an online contest in which fans had the opportunity to make suggestions as to what the team's nickname should be. On May 14, 2015, the NBL held a Board of Governors' meeting, in which it was approved and confirmed that Niagara would compete in the 2015–16 season. At a press conference on May 28, 2015, it was announced that the team would be called the "Niagara River Lions," a nickname inspired by the Niagara Region's coat of arms, which depicts the same animal. Ken Murray, a successful Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) coach, came out of retirement to claim the head coaching and general manager (GM) position. However, during their inaugural season, Murray was fired from the team on February 20, 2016, and was replaced by assistant coach Grâce Lokole. Lokole would step down from the head coach position during the next season on March 11, 2017. He was replaced by local Niagara College head coach Keith Vassell on an interim basis while Lokole stayed on as an assistant. Joe Raso would be named the head coach for the 2017–18 season.
In 2017, River Lions' owner Richard Petko became one the investors of a new basketball league called Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL). On June 8, 2018, the River Lions announced that the franchise had moved to the CEBL after three seasons in the National Basketball League of Canada.
For their first season, the River Lions announced that their mascot would be Dunkin the River Lion. Dunkin performs during every River Lions home game and attends events throughout the Niagara Region.
Niagara Lady LionsEdit
The Niagara Lady Lions are the official dance and promotional teams for the Niagara River Lions. They act as ambassadors for the team with fans and in the community. Both teams perform during River Lions home games and attend events throughout the Niagara Region.
Note: Flags indicate national team eligibility at FIBA sanctioned events. Players may hold other non-FIBA nationality not displayed.
|Niagara River Lions roster|
Updated: April 1, 2018
|League||Season||Coach||Regular season||Post season|
|Won||Lost||Win %||Finish||Won||Lost||Win %||Result|
|16||24||.400||3rd Central||0||3||.000||Lost Div. Semifinals|
|14||26||.350||5th Central||Did not qualify|
|2017–18||Joe Raso||17||23||.425||4th Central||1||3||.250||Lost Div. Semifinals|
- Dadson, Zach. "Five facts about River Lions". BulletNewsNiagara.com. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
- "Niagara to get its own NBL Canada team". CKTB. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
- "Professional Basketball Coming To The Niagara Region". NBLCanada.com. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
- "Optimism And Unity Highlights NBL Canada League Meeting". NBLCanada.com. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
- Dube, Kris. "River Lions ready to build winning team for Niagara". BulletNewsNiagara.com. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
- "River Lions axe head coach coach/GM". Niagara Falls Review. 21 February 2016.
- "Keith Vassell taking over NBL Canada team on interim basis". stcatharinesstandard.ca. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
- "Niagara River Lions name Joe Raso as new head coach". Niagara This Week. June 28, 2017.
- "River Lions make move to CEBL – holding court in 2019". St. Catharines Standard. June 8, 2018.