Edmonton Stingers create buzz as alternative to city’s trademark sports

Edmonton’s only professional basketball team is proving to be very popular with fans of the sport, with a hundred travelling to support the team in a crucial game Wednesday.

The Edmonton Stingers, in the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL), have been playing in front of near sell-out crowds – a feat for a team only in its fifth year.

“We’re so humbled by the fans’ support,” said Reed Clarke, president of the Stingers.

“It’s great to see that excitement about basketball building up in the city.”

Click to play video: 'Success of CEBL takes centre court in Edmonton'
Success of CEBL takes centre court in Edmonton

The Stingers ran a contest for super fans to win a chance to travel with the team to Calgary for the penultimate game of the season – if they win that game against the Calgary Surge, they will make the playoffs.

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“They’re going to win the game and get the playoffs spot,” said Jonathan Allen, who has been a Stingers fan for two years.

“I came to my first game last year and loved it,” Allen said.

“I like the atmosphere and how the fans get together for the players and how loud it is.”

Fans of the Edmonton Stingers on board a bus to Calgary to cheer on the team in the penultimate game of the season, July 26, 2023. Global News

Clarke attributes some of the success of the team to cheap tickets, food and beer and a family-friendly environment, but also to a desire from Edmontonians for something other than the sports the city is known for – football and hockey.

“People are hungry for other sports in the city. They’re hungry for basketball,” Clarke said.

The Stingers take on the Surge Wednesday at 8 p.m. in front of at least 100 fans at Calgary’s WinSport Event Centre.

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Click to play video: 'Woman drains half-court shot at Edmonton Stingers game to win free beer for a year'
Woman drains half-court shot at Edmonton Stingers game to win free beer for a year

“It’s a TSN game, nationally broadcast, so you’ll see all of our (Stingers) shirts right behind the bench tonight,” Clarke said.

“That energy is just contagious. Our players can feel it.”

–With files from Sarah Ryan, Global News

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