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Moncton has three weeks to get owners on board for NBL

One of the National Basketball League of Canada’s top franchisecandidates is at risk of missing the boat on the new circuit’sinaugural season.

One of the National Basketball League of Canada’s top franchise candidates is at risk of missing the boat on the new circuit’s inaugural season.

Two weeks after NBL Canada launched, Moncton — one of five prospective franchises pegged to join Halifax, Saint John, N.B., and Quebec City — has no formal ownership group and thus has not submitted the letter of intent required to join the league.

Letters of intent and accompanying deposits are due by June 15.

“We can’t wait for anyone,” said Andre Levingston, Halifax Rainmen owner and interim league president.

“If we don’t have the things we need from any city, when we reach our deadline date, they will be excluded from participating (in 2011-12). We’re not going to draw things out.”

At a press conference announcing the league’s formation on May 12, officials said a Moncton-based ownership group had submitted a letter of intent. Levingston said yesterday that was incorrect and “may have been a slip.”

But he said he is laying the groundwork for potential ownership by working with the City of Moncton to determine the specifics around a lease agreement for Moncton Coliseum.

“We need everyone to be on board so that an ownership group coming into a city will be supported out of the gate,” he said.

As for the four Ontario teams that have already submitted letters of intent — London, Oshawa, Barrie and Kingston — their deposit cheques were supposed to be mailed by last Friday.

Although he has yet to receive one, Levingston said he is “sure they’re all coming in.”

“We’re just moving forward,” Levingston said. “We’re meeting our timelines, people are working hard, and we’re putting it together.”

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