Saskatchewan’s new basketball team now has a name.
The Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) announced Tuesday the Saskatchewan Rattlers are scheduled to debut in Saskatoon May 2019.
Lee Genier helped bring the Saskatchewan Rush to Saskatoon from Edmonton, taking on the role of president once they arrived. The success of the move was immediate, with near sell-out crowds expected every week.
“I love the name, he said about the Rattlers. “I think that brand is going to look great on a million hoodies — or bunnyhugs.”
Genier alluded that games could have a similar atmosphere to Rush games.
“I love to throw a great party and I really think that’s the difference of people sitting on their couch — watching something on TV or watching online — is really bringing people to a stadium and creating a great event,” he said. ” I think there’s a formula there and I’ve been in sports nearly 30 years.”
“If something’s not broke, don’t fix it.”
— Saskatchewan Rattlers (@SASK_Rattlers) July 3, 2018
There’s also a borrowed model for ownership.
“We took kind of the best of multiple sports leagues and tried to roll it into what we’re doing,” said former CFLer and league CEO Mike Morreale. “(We) kind of took the early MLS structure of the corporately owned entity to make sure this could be a viable league off the ground and into the future.”
There was one league the former stand out Tiger-Cats receiver couldn’t ignore when he looked at the league’s makeup.
“We looked at the CFL, with the ratio (rule), and want to take advantage of that ” Morreale said. “But we actually flipped it and reversed it, so it’s going to be predominantly Canadian.”
Helping matters is the spin executives are putting on the new league. Following international rules, the games will consist of 10-minute quarters, allowing time for fans to interact with players before and after games, as well as featuring plenty of live entertainment.
It’s first season will run from May to August of 2019, with single-elimination playoff games to follow the 10-game home and away schedule.
Billed as a league by Canadians, for Canadians, each team will be owned by the league itself and the 12-man rosters will feature six to seven Canadians on each team.
The Rattlers’ logo was also unveiled, depicting an image of a coiled prairie rattlesnake, the only breed of rattlesnake that lives in Saskatchewan. The endangered species is also the only venomous snake found in the Canadian prairies.
The colours are green, white and beige.
Saskatchewan is one of the original six franchises in the league, joining Edmonton, Guelph, Hamilton, Fraser Valley (Abbotsford) and Niagara (St. Catharines).