Some pretty big honours were heaped upon the head of Langley’s pro basketball team Thursday.
Dylan Kular was lauded by not just one, but two different organizations this week, in his role as president of the Langley-based Vancouver Bandits.
First, he was recognized by the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) as the executive of the year. This is the second time the Abbotsford resident earned this accolade.
Then, later that same day, he was a finalist lauded at the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce business excellence gala. He was one of four contenders in the George Preston Memorial Businessperson of the Year awards – losing out Thursday night to Gemma Martini of Martini Film Studios.
That didn’t seem to diminish the calls, emails, and texts of congratulations that have been coming in for Kular.
BREAKING: Ever upward and community first.— Vancouver Bandits (@vancitybandits) October 20, 2022
The @cebleague announced that it has recognized Bandits president @DylanKular as its Executive of the Year for the 2nd consecutive year. Congrats, Dylan! 2023's looking big. 🤝
The CEBL award recognizes a senior front office executive who has excelled in their role by enhancing their club’s connection with the community and local basketball ecosystem through business development, grassroots partnerships, noteworthy ticket sales and an exceptional game day experience.
This is Kular’s second consecutive time receiving the prestigious recognition, which he previously won last fall after being promoted to president of the Bandits in September 2021, explained CEBL commissioner and co-founder Mike Morreale.
“Since we first hired Dylan nearly five years ago we knew that his tireless work ethic, commitment to the league, Bandits and Metro Vancouver communities would result in tremendous success on and off the court,” Morreale elaborated.
“For a second time his peers have recognized those efforts with this prestigious honour – making him a shining example of what it takes to be a leader. I look forward to continued success for Dylan and the Bandits well into the future.”
In his first year as Bandits president, Kular relocated the team to Langley Events Centre (LEC) and continued his dedication to the community by elevating the Bandits’ collaborations with partners across the province and ingraining the club with local stakeholders.
Kular and fellow Bandits staff members have created one of the fastest growing sports and entertainment brands in B.C.
The club’s evolution captured the interest of Kevin Dhaliwal and Bryan Slusarchuk – two season ticket members who have been woven into the club’s family as sponsors since its early beginnings. Dhaliwal and Slusarchuk elevated their investment in the Bandits and became co-owners to grow the team’s presence in the community and to help it reach new heights.
The Bandits became the first of the CEBL’s inaugural six member clubs to be sold to local ownership and rebranded from Fraser Valley to Vancouver as part of Dhaliwal and Slusarchuk’s territorial acquisition of Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley as CEBL markets.
“This award is a reflection of the hard work that our front office, game day staff, and volunteers have contributed to help the Bandits ascend to new heights,” Kular said, sharing around the credit and accolades.
1/3 It is a honour to recieve this award for a second consecutive time.— Dylan Kular (@DylanKular) October 21, 2022
This award is a reflection of the hard work that our front office, players, basketball staff, game day staff and volunteers have contributed to help the Bandits ascend to new heights. We are grateful for the https://t.co/Xd2poC7gwD
“We are grateful for the opportunity to work with like-minded partners and leaders in the community who believe in the power of basketball and the inclusive platform that we are building through sport,” he added.
“Thank you to my peers at CEBL head office for this tremendous honour and recognition, as well as our fans for supporting us. I am excited to work with our ownership group and fellow staff to make 2023 our most memorable season to date.”
Prominent events led by Kular from the Bandits’ 2022 season include setting back-to-back league-wide attendance records on June 7 and 18, respectively, when the team welcomed 13 schools from across Metro Vancouver for its inaugural “School Day Game” versus the Honey Badgers on June 7.
Less than two weeks later on June 18 the Bandits hosted the first-ever BC Basketball Festival; which featured 200 adult and youth teams from across the province competing within a divisional format before enjoying a Bandits game against the Scarborough Shooting Stars.
In addition to leading the CEBL in sponsorship revenue generated for its 2022 season, Kular and the Bandits focused on celebrating and giving back to the province’s basketball landscape.
The Bandits’ community department attended more than 90 events between January and October and has made more than 40 school visits to elementary, middle, and secondary schools throughout the Lower Mainland this year.
Further bolstering the club’s local ties was the launch of the Indigenous Basketball Collective in partnership with the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation Council (I∙SPARC). The partnership set the stage for the reveal of a reimagined Bandits team logo designed by Kwantlen First Nation artist Jeff Dickson, as well as a commitment to host basketball camps and programs for Indigenous youth.
Bandits guard Malcolm Duvivier and assistant coach Levon Kendall traveled to Ahousaht First Nation on Vancouver Island to host a camp in May, and 50 boys and girls from more than 20 different Indigenous communities participated in a basketball fundamentals camp co-hosted by the Bandits’ coaching staff, I∙SPARC and Pacific Sport Fraser Valley on June 18.
Despite falling short of a 2022 championship eeekend berth, Kular said the Bandits front office are poised to continue building for the present and the future.
The CEBL awarded its 2023 championship weekend to Vancouver in recognition of Kular’s bid and application to host the highly anticipated and multi-day playoff event, which was held in Ottawa last August.
More about the Bandits is available online at thebandits.ca.
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