The Winnipeg Sea Bears are the latest professional basketball team to join the Canadian Elite Basketball League.
The franchise was unveiled Wednesday at Canada Life Centre, where the team will tip off the 2023 season and become the first CEBL club to play in an NHL arena.
Winnipeg businessman and lawyer David Asper was introduced as the team’s owner.
“As someone with a long history of community service, bringing this team and the CEBL to Winnipeg is as much about the league’s overt commitment to diversity, immigrant and newcomer communities, and doing that through the lens of culture, music, food, as it is about the business of professional basketball,” said Asper.
Well-known Winnipeg events executive Jason Smith is the team’s president.
Smith is a 25-year leadership veteran who has produced many iconic Winnipeg events, such as the 2014 Juno Awards, the 2015 Grey Cup Festival, the NHL Heritage Classic, the Canada Summer Games Festival, ManyFest, Boo at the Zoo, Manitoba 150, and the Winnipeg Jets Whiteout Street Parties.
“Winnipeg was a target market since the CEBL launched in 2018 and we’ve been waiting for an exceptional owner to emerge who shares our passion for the sport and for community development,” said Mike Morreale, commissioner and co-founder of the CEBL.
Why the Sea Bears?
The Sea Bears’ nickname was chosen in honour of the largest bear in the world, the polar bear whose Latin name, Ursus maritimus, means “Sea Bear.”
The official team colours of the Sea Bears are teal, white and black.
The club will make its home base at the Sport Manitoba facility, where the team will practice, train, recover and hold meetings, as well as house their offices and business operations.
The Sea Bears will begin their inaugural CEBL season in May 2023.
Watch Wednesday’s news conference: