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Sea Bears win debut as professional basketball returns to Winnipeg

Winnipeg's new professional basketball team is off to a winning start as fans flocked downtown Saturday to welcome the sport's return to our city.

The Winnipeg Sea Bears beat the Vancouver Bandits 90 – 85 in front of a sold-out crowd of more than 7,000 fans at Canada Life Centre.

It was the first time in more than 20 years that a professional basketball team has played out of Winnipeg. The Winnipeg Cyclone played six seasons in the city from 1995 – 2001. Before that came the Winnipeg Thunder, from 1992 – 1994.

Tip-off for the Sea Bears debut was at 7 p.m. but fans began gathering downtown in the late afternoon. A pre-party took place at True North Square, with hundreds getting together for music, food trucks, games, and to share their excitement about the return of basketball.

"It's nice to have pro basketball back in the city," said one fan.

"I've been around since the Winnipeg Thunder and the Cyclone were here, so we're excited to have basketball back after losing both of those teams," said another attendee.

The Sea Bears are an expansion team in the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) The team's roster features three Winnipeggers, including three-year CEBL veteran centre Chad Posthumus. The River East Collegiate product won a CEBL championship with the Edmonton Stingers in 2019 and put up six double-doubles with the Ottawa BlackJacks last season.

The Sea Bears' first game led to their first win of the season. London, UK native Jelani Watson-Gayle scored a three-pointer in Target Score Time, sealing the victory. Watson-Gayle scored 22 points in the game.

The team is now off to Ontario for its first road trip of the season. The Sea Bears are in Brampton June 1 to take on the Honey Badgers. On Friday, June 2, they'll face the Scarborough Shooting Stars

The Sea Bears next home games is on June 12, when the team hosts the Edmonton Stingers.

Tickets and game information can be found online. Top Stories

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