The Manitoba government is proud to welcome the Winnipeg Sea Bears and encourages all Manitobans to cheer on the newest Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) franchise.
“Manitobans are passionate about sports, with basketball being no exception, and I am thrilled to welcome the Winnipeg Sea Bears,” said Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Obby Khan. “The Sea Bears will provide quality family entertainment and economic benefits for businesses in downtown Winnipeg. Additionally, bringing a professional team to the province will show lots of kids that basketball is accessible and a possible goal to strive for.”
Winnipeg will be the CEBL’s fourth expansion since launching in 2019 and will join nine other teams across the country. The Sea Bears will play their home opener May 27 at Canada Life Centre. The Sea Bears will host 10 regular season home games at Canada Life Centre between May and the end of July.
The Manitoba government is investing $450,000 over three years for the team’s initial operations, to support the team’s use of Canada Life Centre for home games and its bid to host the 2025 CEBL championships. The Canada Games Sport For Life Centre at Sport Manitoba in the heart of downtown Winnipeg will serve as the team’s offices and practice facility, the minister noted.
“The Winnipeg Sea Bears are thrilled to be bringing a new CEBL franchise to downtown Winnipeg and are thankful for the generous support from the Manitoba government,” said Jason Smith, president, Winnipeg Sea Bears. “We look forward to inviting thousands of Manitobans to join us as we embark on this exciting new chapter of professional basketball and we will work with the community to continue championing sport, culture and downtown renewal.”
The team will also play an important role in the community, noted the minister. In addition to mandated community service in player contracts, the Sea Bears are planning collaborations with youth organizations to run camps and clinics.
The CEBL is the only official professional basketball league endorsed by Canada Basketball, the national basketball federation, and regulated by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). The league features the highest percentage of Canadian players of all professional sports leagues in the country.