Saskatchewan Rattlers pro basketball team to start play in May of 2019

Luz - Arab Calgary News - JULY 3, 2018

When the newly dubbed Saskatchewan Rattlers pro basketball team tips off nearly a year from now, its players will be wearing colours people in the province are familiar with — green.

It will be one of the country’s six original teams in the newly formed Canadian Elite Basketball League, with play starting in May of 2019 and the season taking place during the summer months.

The league says the Rattlers logo shows the prairie rattlesnake, a venomous breed that resides in the province and is listed as an endangered species.

The league unveiled the team’s name and logo on Tuesday, sticking with a similar colour scheme to the Rush lacrosse team. While the Rush’s logo is green and black, the Rattlers’ is green, beige and white.

Both teams are to be based out of the Sasktel Centre.

The Rattlers plan to duplicate the “rock concert” feel of Rush games, with guidance from Lee Genier, who was the founding president of the Rush franchise in Saskatchewan.

“I think everybody knows that I like to throw a good party,” Genier said.

What to expect on the court

At a news conference in Saskatoon, league CEO Mike Morreale and Genier, who is the league’s western president and operating officer, revealed more details behind what people can expect to see at the games.

The league will speed up play from the typical 15-minute quarter to 10-minute quarters. Morreale said the teams will be comprised of between 60 and 70 per cent Canadian players.

“We have to take advantage of this and seize this moment in Canada basketball. Too often our players, our really good players, have to go elsewhere to get their professional fix. We would like to keep them here,” Morreale said.

The team will play by FIBA rules, which is played around the world with the NBA as the only exception, he said.

The team is a corporate-owned entity that owns the league and all teams. This is a purposeful decision that will make sure the team is in Saskatoon to stay, Morreale said.

Darrin Conway