Monday, January 30, 2023

Chatham’s Bridget Carleton poised to play on home soil, as WNBA announces first ever exhibition game in Canada

Chatham’s Bridget Carleton is poised to play on her home soil.

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) announced today, January 18, 2023, that the first WNBA Canada Game will feature the Chicago Sky and Minnesota Lynx on Saturday, May 13, 2023, at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, ON. This marks the first-ever WNBA preseason game in Canada.

“Bringing a WNBA preseason game to Canada is an important milestone for the global growth of the league,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert, in a media release.

“I’ve spoken often of the global popularity of women’s basketball and, this past season, WNBA games were broadcast in 207 countries and territories, including in Canada, where fans have shown a great appetite for WNBA action. And as Canadian stars like Bridget Carleton, Natalie Achonwa and Kia Nurse continue to flourish in and drive interest around the league, we’re looking forward building on the momentum and excitement surrounding the WNBA in Canada with this historic game.”

WNBA officials say the Lynx franchise, which won four WNBA championships from 2011 through 2017, made 11 consecutive playoff appearances beginning in 2011.

During this past season, which marked the final campaign in the illustrious career of Lynx center Sylvia Fowles, Minnesota also was led by 2019 Kia WNBA Rookie of the Year Napheesa Collier, Aerial Powers and Canadian stars Achonwa and Carleton, who recently led Canada to the semifinals of the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup.

Carleton, a native of Chatham, Ontario, led Team Canada in scoring (12.8 ppg) and Achonwa, a native of Guelph, ON, was the team’s second-leading rebounder (6.1 rpg), WNBA officials say.

The 25-year-old Carelton is currently a restricted free agent.

“We are looking forward to participating in this historic game for the WNBA,” said Lynx Head Coach and President of Basketball Operations Cheryl Reeve, in a press release.

“The league’s global popularity has shown incredible growth, and I am pleased our team will be a part of continuing to pave the path for the WNBA by bringing our game to Canada.”

Chicago, which won the WNBA championship in 2021, reached the semifinals of the WNBA Playoffs presented by Google this past season behind the play of four 2022 WNBA All-Stars: Kahleah Copper, Emma Meesseman, and Candace Parker, all former Finals MVPs, and Courtney Vandersloot.

The Sky also advanced to the Championship Game of the 2022 WNBA Commissioner’s Cup presented by Coinbase.

“The Chicago Sky are thrilled to have the opportunity to play the first ever preseason game in Toronto, Canada and share the excitement of the WNBA with our friends up North,” said Sky President and CEO Adam Fox, in a media release.

“We know Canada has a rich women’s basketball history, passion for the game, and shared values around diversity, equity, and inclusion. We are honored to partner with the Minnesota Lynx to showcase some of the world’s greatest basketball players to help expand the WNBA’s popularity in Canada and globally.”

This will be only the third WNBA preseason game to be played outside of the United States.

In 2004, the Detroit Shock and San Antonio Silver Stars met in Monterrey, Mexico and in 2011 the Atlanta Dream played the Standard Life Great Britain Women’s basketball team in Manchester, England.

Ticket information and the start time for the WNBA Canada Game will be announced in the near future.

Fans in Canada can register to be notified of event information and presale ticket access at WNBACanadaGame.com.

The game will be broadcast live in Canada on Sportsnet and TSN, and available to fans in the U.S. on WNBA League Pass.

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