Last night (Friday May 22nd), the Edmonton Stingers were scheduled to host the Fraser Valley Bandits at the Edmonton EXPO Centre. It should have been game three of the 2020 Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) season. Stingers fans would suggest that the Club would have brought home a victory last night pointing out that they defeated the Bandits in all four meetings last season.
The games of course are postponed by the current pandemic. “The Hive” as the Stingers call it is currently being “activated as a temporary overflow day programming facility for vulnerable populations whose access to services have been impacted by COVID-19.” So where does that leave the CEBL and the Stingers during this time that the economy is beginning to re-open?
Per the CEBL press release:
STATEMENT FROM THE CANADIAN ELITE BASKETBALL LEAGUE REGARDING CONTINGENCY PLAN FOR SINGLE SITE TOURNAMENT
“For the past two months we have been methodically working through a number of contingency plans that could enable us to play in 2020 under the traditional format of a regular-season or under any number of innovative formats. We have known that ultimately any actions we may take will be dictated by public health and government officials. Our priorities align with theirs—keeping the health and safety of all people at the forefront of our decisions.
While nothing has been ruled out at this point, we are presently focused on exploring what may be possible with a single-site tournament event in Ontario. As part of the contingency planning we have been engaged with the appropriate federal and provincial leaders around protocols related to players, coaches, team officials, venue staff, and fans.
Pertinent to all of our contingency plans, as we announced earlier this month, we formally submitted a request to the federal government for a modest loan of $5 million after determining that our league is ineligible for federal business support programs that had been announced. We are awaiting a decision on our request. We have also been as involved as any professional sports league in the province’s back-to-play planning process for sports organizations. We remain optimistic that CEBL players will be on the court this summer and again, providing world-class pro basketball entertainment to people across Canada.
Protecting the interests of our season ticket holders, as well as national and local corporate partners, is integral to all of our planning. As our options become more evident in the weeks ahead, we will be able to provide clarity to our ticket, corporate, and community partners around how their investment in us will be protected.”
Let’s repeat the bolded line:
While nothing has been ruled out at this point, we are presently focused on exploring what may be possible with a single-site tournament event in Ontario.
The title of this article asks will the Stingers play in Edmonton this season. It seems they may not.
A league in its second year of operation is doing everything in their power to not have their history read a dormant second season. With 4 of the 7 teams in the league playing out of Ontario, a single-site tournament in that province is logical. Not ideal for anyone involved but in these times you have to work with what you have. Here is more on this idea from CBC.ca.
There is an article worth of questions to be asked if you are an Edmonton Stingers season ticket holder but I have one for you. If the Stingers win the CEBL Championship in a tournament where you cannot attend any of the game, would you be less proud?
Dreaming about a Stingers championship is not a local writer being a homer, it’s a reminder that the Stingers were 14-6 last season. A team that started 4-4 under inaugural coach Barnaby Craddock and finished 10-2 under coach Jermaine Small. A team that was breathtakingly close to edging out the Saskatchewan Rattlers, who went on to become champions, in the semifinals.
As the league and government officials worry about today, this article will end with a link to CEBL.TV so you can re-watch your favourite game from last season.