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Surge Ready to Saddle Up

It’s a Dome opener and a Battle of Alberta all in one.

The Calgary Surge begin their Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) season against the Edmonton Stingers at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday, May 21, 2024.

The professional hoops team had a successful inaugural campaign last year and they’ll look to build on that in their sophomore season.

In 2023, the Surge finished tops in the Western Conference during the regular season and followed that up by claiming the Western Conference title in the playoffs. Against their provincial rivals, the Surge beat the Stingers three times in four games and eliminated them from the playoffs.

The Surge played at WinSport Event Centre last year and they’ll return to that venue after they make their Saddledome debut.

“Last year, when we brought professional basketball to our city, we honestly didn’t know what to expect,” wrote Calgary Surge President Jason Ribeiro in an open letter to team supporters recently.

“Turns out a lot of work goes into putting on a professional basketball game! Our small but mighty front office staff had to learn the ins and outs of ticketing, organizing vendors, crowd management…they even had to learn how to convert an ice hockey rink to a basketball court. And yet, Calgary’s open embrace of our team completely blew us away.”

Added Ribeiro: “I wish I could write this letter and tell you all that we will win every game we play, or that we will reverse the twist of fate that saw us fall a few baskets short of a CEBL Championship in our first season. But I can’t. What I am certain of is our commitment to the process of becoming a world-class team and organization. We will adapt. We will learn. We will compete.”

The Surge have a new coach at the helm this year after they announced Hamilton, Ontario native Tyrell Vernon was taking the job in April.

“Tyrell is a rising star in the Canadian basketball scene and is known for his infectious positive energy and strong connections within the community,” said Surge General Manager Shane James of the 2013 North of the Border Basketball League (NBBL) MVP.

Nelson Terroba, who guided the Surge to a 12-8 record as head coach last season, resigned from the club to pursue a coaching opportunity in his home state of Texas.

“Nelson played a pivotal role in the success of our first season. While this is a bittersweet moment for our organization, we can’t wait to see what he accomplishes in this next chapter of his career,” said James.

The Surge have re-signed a number of players from last year’s team, as well, including forward Justin Jackson, guard Stef Smith and CEBL All-Canadian Sean “Rugzy” Miller-Moore.

In addition, the team signed guard Mathieu Kamba, who played two seasons with the Edmonton Stingers, where he won back-to-back CEBL championships in 2020 and 2021.

“Mathieu is an important signing for us. His story will be a great one to tell. Being a local son of Calgary, while also being a CEBL champion is special,” said James.

“He has been a target for us since last year and we are fortunate to have him. We expect him to bring that championship mindset, while doing a little bit of everything on the floor that will contribute to our success.”