Pro sports are all about entertainment, and no sport delivers the complete fan experience like professional basketball.
“This is going to be like a basketball game wrapped up within a rock concert,” said Andrew Savory, the club’s marketing and communications manager. Games will start at 7 p.m., but Savory says the fun starts at 5:30 p.m.
“There’s going to be food trucks, live bands, interactive activities with our mascot – it’s going to be a big party before the game, and that energy will flow into the arena at tip-off,” he said.
And then there will be exciting, fast-paced, professional basketball. The Bandits are part of the six-team Canadian Elite Basketball League, which plays under international (FIBA) rules. These are the rules used in Olympic competition, and basketball fans love the way they keep the game moving.
CEBL teams play 10 games at home and 10 away during the summer. The summer schedule capitalizes on the window between the traditional basketball seasons. This will allow the CEBL to attract top Canadian and international players who will be eligible for summertime professional contracts. The league’s “original six” teams are Fraser Valley, Edmonton, Saskatchewan, Guelph, Hamilton and Niagara.
“We want to draw on the cultural moment basketball is enjoying in Canada,” Savory said. “Never has there been this many Canadian pros playing at the highest levels worldwide.” The CEBL will draw eligible players from U SPORTS and NCAA basketball programs, while also calling upon talent from the NBA G League and top international pro leagues. All players will be cleared through Canada Basketball.
CEBL rosters will be composed of at least 70 per cent Canadian players, and players and coaching staffs will be heavily involved in the community at all levels.
“We really want to give players an opportunity to come home and play on home soil,” Savory said. “They’ll play in front of friends, family and local businesses. Players will actively give back to the community through philanthropic initiatives, school visits and other opportunities for outreach. In turn, the community and the game of basketball will grow together.
Savory says the team is excited to play in the 7,000-seat Abbotsford Centre, and is looking forward to building great relationships across the Fraser Valley. “As a professional team we want to inspire the next generation to pursue opportunities not only as players, but also as coaches, volunteers, media – you name it.
“The Abbotsford Centre will be a home for everyone.”
The Bandits’ season opens May 9 against the Guelph Nighthawks.