It’s Time to Expand the WNBA to Canada

By: Crina Mustafa
Posted: May 18, 2021

Another season, another round of roster cuts. With only twelve teams in the WNBA, and only twelve roster spots on each team, many talented players who should be on the floor just don’t make the cut. Lexie Brown knows this better than anyone else, having been cut from a roster twice before the season even started. With such a limited amount of space in the league, many have argued that it is time for the WNBA to expand to more cities. If we’re talking expansion, then there is a proposition that the league should consider: expanding to Canada. This isn’t out of reach, as Tangerine Bank became the first Foundational Partner of the WNBA in Canada just recently. We know that basketball culture has been growing exponentially in Canada, so why not bring the W to the North?

Canadian City #1: Toronto

After winning their first championship in 2019, the Toronto Raptors united an entire country and brought more fans and attention to the game of basketball than ever before. In fact, there was even a bid to bring the WNBA to Toronto in 2019, but the deal never went through. There has been a lot of pressure from fans in Toronto and Canada in general to bring a team to the city, and there is no doubt that there would be a lot of support behind them.

We are literally waiting!

This new partnership with Tangerine Bank means that more WNBA games are going to be broadcast in Canada, bringing more viewers and awareness to the league. Sure, we’ve seen the power of Canadian support for the Raptors, but we’ve also seen it with Canadian WNBA players like Kia Nurse and Kayla Alexander. 

Kia Nurse’s involvement on Team Canada and her broadcasting role with TSN certainly helped Canada rally behind her, with many basketball fans choosing to become a Mercury fan this season specifically because of Nurse’s presence on the team. This in itself has expanded the WNBA’s audience to Canada, so just imagine an extra dozen players on a Canadian team. 

Not only are fans eager for a team in Toronto, but they’ve also started brainstorming names for the potential team. Some examples that I’ve seen have been “Toronto Huskies,” (which would bring back the old team name) and “Toronto Wolves.” All that’s left is for MLSE to invest in making this a reality. Toronto is such a big market and would do a whole lot of good for the WNBA scene. 

Canadian City #2: Vancouver

The NBA experimented with a team in Vancouver before, so why not do it again? While the Grizzlies are now in Memphis, it may be time to bring another basketball team to Vancouver. It would also help balance out the conferences, bringing the total to fourteen teams and seven in each conference. The only Canadian team in Vancouver right now are the Canucks, and they’re not exactly the best team in the NHL. The Raptors played games in Vancouver during pre-season stints in the past, and I’m sure Vancouver residents would like to have more basketball games in their city. 

It’s always disheartening to see good players get cut because of limited spots, and if the WNBA is thinking of expanding, they should definitely consider these two Canadian cities. Hit us up and let us know what you think about the W heading north.

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For more thoughts and opinions from Crina, check out her Twitter.

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