As a six-team basketball league solely based out of the Maritimes kicked off March 31st, little did many of the fans know they had reportedly already missed payments to their players.
The New York ownership group reportedly didn’t pay their players on time during the Eastern Canadian Basketball League (ECBL) season, which concluded in May.
“Higher than anticipated costs and lower than forecasted revenues left the league with serious financial challenges,” read a league statement posted in May.
The league was dubbed as an alternative to the NBL, which previously pulled operations out of Atlantic Canada.
In a tell-all interview with Global News, the leadership group behind the Moncton Motion said that the league first gave its red flags when they allegedly missed the first two pay periods, citing issues with currency exchange between Canadian and American bank accounts.
According to the Motion, from that time forward, none of the coaches or staff of the Moncton team received a payment from the league.
“Some of them got two weeks’ pay, and that’s it,” said Todd McKillop, the head coach.
“When I came on board, it was the understanding there were a lot of American investors that would make this run easily.”
Players came from inside and outside the Maritimes to play in the league. According to the head coach of the Moncton Motion, players were promised pay between $2,000-$5,000 a month.
Neither the coaches nor any members of the Motion leadership group had known exactly how much each player was being paid, as contracts were negotiated through the league head office.
But they weren’t the only ones left with their hands out, waiting for money.
The manager of business operations, David Tingley, told Global News that fans who purchased season tickets through league owner Ravi Verma were reportedly out of money.
The early pause in the season left many fans looking for refunds on season tickets for the remaining games. Some fans received discounts of the following season, while some may have been successful in getting their cash back.
“Moncton season ticket holders, by in large, got their money back,” told Tingley
“Some purchased direct from owner Ravi Verma and never got their money back — they’ve emailed repeatedly and never got their money back.”
Tingley also heard from businesses who were left in the dark on getting their money back. One hotel chain in Moncton reportedly told Tingley the league owes the group almost $40,000 while players from outside the Maritimes stayed in hotels during the season.
Following the conclusion of the season, a championship tournament was set to be held in Saint John, which in turn also was cancelled. Tingley said players weren’t expected to be paid for the time on the court during that, either.
Global News reached out repeatedly for comment from the ECBL, who cited in an email on Saturday noting that they “have stated on multiple occasions that we do have outstanding debt since the league suspended play in May” but did not respond to requests to further clarify his remarks or respond to comments from the Moncton Motion.
The league’s future remains uncertain at the moment, but league owner Ravi Verma said that they are working to rectify outstanding debt.
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