VANCOUVER – A brand new period is underway for one of many Canadian Elite Basketball League’s unique six groups.
The membership previously referred to as the Fraser Valley Bandits introduced Tuesday that the staff has been bought to native house owners Kevin Dhaliwal and Bryan Slusarchuk, and rebranded because the Vancouver Bandits.
“It’s not a profit-loss factor for us,” mentioned Dhaliwal, founding father of actual property builders Essence Properties. “It’s extra about creating that environment, that power within the constructing. Our No. 1 aim is to attract followers.”
The Bandits observe the Scarborough Capturing Stars because the second CEBL staff to be operated by outdoors possession. Eight different groups proceed to be owned by the league.
Together with the Bandits, Dhaliwal and Slusarchuk – a mining government who co-founded K92 Mining Inc. and is the principal at enterprise capital agency SluzCap – purchased the unique proper to personal and function a CEBL franchise in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Regional District.
The deal prompted the membership to rebrand because the Vancouver Bandits.
Lots of people nonetheless don’t know there’s a staff enjoying simply outdoors of the massive metropolis, Dhaliwal mentioned.
“I used to be a few of the feedback on the league’s Instagram and so they requested a query, `Which metropolis ought to get a staff subsequent?’ And a number of feedback had been saying Vancouver. And I used to be like `We’ve got a staff!”’ he mentioned.
The Bandits will proceed to make their house on the Langley Occasions Centre, the place they spent the 2022 marketing campaign after enjoying their first three seasons in Abbotsford, B.C.
In Langley, the Bandits posted a 12-8 file and completed fourth within the regular-season standings earlier than being ousted from the playoffs by the Guelph Nighthawks.
“The Fraser Valley is an superior place to reside. I simply don’t assume lots of people perceive what the Fraser Valley is,” Dhaliwal mentioned. “And being renamed the Vancouver Bandits, we have now the Vancouver Giants (Western Hockey League staff) that play out of there. So I believe that’s an important step in the best course.”
The league mentioned in a launch Tuesday that Vancouver Island and the Okanagan area are nonetheless “sturdy prospects” for an growth staff.
The Bandits are the second CEBL staff to announce a rebrand this season after the league mentioned Aug. 17 that it’s shifting the Nighthawks to Calgary. The CEBL mentioned a brand new title and brand for the membership will probably be introduced at a later date.
Slusarchuk is a longtime Bandits season ticket holder and mentioned he’s been constantly impressed not solely by the standard of play however the leisure expertise as an entire.
“It’s a enjoyable environment together with the expertise,” he mentioned. “And I simply assume the extra folks we will get out to the video games the higher. As a result of when you come as soon as, you’re form of hooked on it as a spot to be.”
A dad to 2 basketball-playing teenage sons, Slusarchuk began trying into buying the Bandits when he noticed how concerned the staff is locally.
“What I noticed is that even within the low season, 12 months spherical, the Bandits had been having a number of factors of contact with these youngsters. They’d proven up of their colleges with (mascot) Berry the Bandit, gamers and so forth and so forth,” he mentioned.
“I’m an enormous fan of basketball, but it surely was the community-first method that I noticed the Bandits making use of that basically bought me .”
The possession information comes forward of an enormous season for the Bandits. The membership is ready to host the league’s championship weekend in August 2023 – a job that comes with an computerized berth within the semifinals.
It’s a place the staff is eager to benefit from, Slusarchuk mentioned.
“It’s at all times an excellent time to win a championship,” he mentioned. “However this 12 months, with the brand new course of the staff, with the championship weekend being held in British Columbia, this is able to be nearly as good or higher 12 months than any to do this. And we actually wish to help that.”