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Local ownership group takes over Edmonton Stingers basketball club: ‘There’s great potential’

James Burns, Reed Clarke and Tank Vander pose for a photo at a news conference at the Edmonton Expo Centre on Feb. 23, 2023. The three men have formed a partnership called the Stingers Entertainment Group and bought the Edmonton Stingers basketball team from the CEBL. Global News

Four years after the Edmonton Stingers tipped off their first game as one of the original clubs to be part of the Canadian Elite Basketball League, its new owners are buzzing about the team’s future after buying the sports franchise from the league.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“(The CEBL has) grown from five teams all the way to 10, surviving through COVID and everything else,” Taranvir (Tank) Vander, one of three partners announced as the new owners of the Stingers at a news conference at the Edmonton Expo Centre on Thursday.

“I believe there’s great potential. I believe there’s an opportunity to grow this game in Canada — which was lacking for the longest time.”

Vander, along with Reed Clarke and James Burns, comprise the Stingers Entertainment Group. Clarke, who is already the club’s president, will now also take on the duties of being the Stingers’ chief executive officer, while Vander and Burns will serve as managing partners.

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“Why not be financially invested and put everything I can into it?” Clarke told Global News on Thursday. “So when this opportunity arose, it was hard for me to say no.

“I had to jump in. I believe in basketball in this city with all my heart so to be a part of the Stingers Entertainment Group was such a natural fit.”

The Stingers have enjoyed sustained success since the CEBL’s inception, winning two league championships and developing players with impressive talent.

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Former Stinger Xavier Moon, a three-time CEBL MVP, left the club to join the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers organization. Last season, the league redesigned the trophy annually awarded to the league’s most valuable player to include an “X” in his honour.

READ MORE: CEBL has its MVP award redesigned in honour of former Edmonton Stingers star Xavier Moon

In a news release, CEBL commissioner and co-founder Mike Morreale said he was excited to transfer ownership of the club to the SEG so the partnership can build on the Stingers’ success.

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“Reed is a life-long Edmontonian while Tank and James are Edmonton transplants who bring proven business acumen, local industry experience and share the passion for the tremendous community-based work that Reed and his Stingers staff have already accomplished in the greater Edmonton market,” he said.

“This purchase by local owners continues to strengthen the CEBL’s position as a mainstay in Canadian professional sport.”

Click to play video: 'Edmonton Stingers help out at McCauley Boys and Girls Club'
Edmonton Stingers help out at McCauley Boys and Girls Club

The Stingers’ 2023 CEBL season gets underway on May 27 when the club visits the Calgary Surge whose season opener will mark the first time a CEBL team is based in southern Alberta.

READ MORE: CEBL unveils the Calgary Surge, the league’s newest franchise

The Stingers’ first home game of the season is on May 28, also against the Surge.

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Since the CEBL began play in 2019, the league says nine of its players have moved to the NBA following a CEBL season. The league also says 28 CEBL players attended NBA G League training camps in October.

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