The Calgary Surge basketball club is hoping to take the wave of excitement over the new CEBL franchise out into the community this December.
The Surge’s Home Team Tour will hit a handful of hoops events this month to get the fast break on community involvement.
In mid-October, the Calgary Surge were announced as the newest entry into the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL), after the Guelph Nighthawks relocated. One of cornerstones in that announcement was the commitment to bringing the increasingly popular hardcourt sport out to the community.
The Home Team Tour will hit one event in each of the city’s quadrants with a focus on exposing the team to Calgarians already keen on basketball. (The logo’s four wings represent the city’s quadrants.) Here’s where they’ll be setting up over the next 17 days, starting this weekend.
- SOUTHWEST: December 2nd & 3rd, Kris Kringle Basketball Tournament (hosted by Calgary Catholic School District); Location: St. Mary’s High School
- NORTHEAST: December 3rd, Hoops for Hope Wheelchair Basketball (hosted by Islamic Relief Canada & Akram Jomaa); Location: Genesis Centre (Feature Gym)
- NORTHWEST: December 16th, 17th & 18th, 3v3 Winter Classic (hosted by Calgary Minor Basketball Association & University of Calgary Dinos Basketball); Location: University of Calgary (Jack Simpson Gym)
- SOUTHEAST: December 16th & 17th, Legends Girls Basketball Tournament (hosted by Calgary Catholic School District); Location: All Saints High School
“What we’ve learned, I think is, once we’ve launched to not just go out and run aimlessly, but really to be intentional and thoughtful about how we engage community knowing that it’s just the beginning,” said team vice-chairman and president, Jason Ribeiro.
“It’s not the end, and it’s going to be so central to what we’re doing.”
Risk of failure without community support
Usman Tahir Jutt, who along with Ribeiro, spearheaded the club’s move to Calgary from Guelph, said community involvement is key. He said without the ability to embed the team in the community, he wouldn’t have been interested in the project.
“We both fundamentally believe that if we don’t engage the community in the exact way that we prescribed, we’re going to fail. Failure means a massive risk for Calgary. It means a massive risk to our community,” Jutt said.
“Not just from a professional basketball perspective, but from a we have to be able to look ourselves in the mirror we have to be able to look at our community members, or friends, or colleagues, or neighbours and be able to say that Calgary is a place where you come to make something, and you can connect, and you can be part of something a lot larger.
The team is hoping to release more details on schedule and ticketing in the early new year. Deposits on season tickets have been progressing well, Ribeiro said.
For now, they’ve got their eye on reaching as many different Calgarians. They want to bring them together out of a love of sports – particularly basketball.
Ribeiro used the analogy of filling a gas tank before putting the pedal to the floor.
“I think that’s what we’re doing,” he said.
The CEBL season runs from May to August. The team will play out of the Markin MacPhail Centre at WinSport in northwest Calgary.
For more information, and to make a deposit on tickets, visit the Calgary Surge website.