Edmonton Vs Saskatchewan Rivalry Now In CEBL

Len Nunes - Win COlumn Sports - JULY 4, 2018

Rivalries fuel sport. Starting in May 2019, the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) will add another chapter to the sports rivalry that is Edmonton vs Saskatchewan. The Tuesday unveiling of the Saskatchewan Rattlers gives the Edmonton vs Saskatchewan rivalry a much needed second prong at the professional level.

If you are an Edmonton sports writer and you are suffering writer’s block, you fall back on the “battle of Alberta” to bust you out. So many different angles and hot-takes can be made about the storied history between the Oilers vs Flames or Eskimos vs Stampeders. For a glorious short period of time, the Edmonton Rush vs Calgary Roughnecks was as hostile a rivalry as any in sport. The truth, however, is that if you want to rile up an Eskimos fan you bring up the bus loads of watermelon-hat-wearing Rider fans that truck into games at Commonwealth Stadium. Many Edmonton lacrosse fans are still filled with resentment that the black and silver moved East and tinged their jersey’s green.

The Eskimos have welcomed the Stingers with open arms to the Capital City, and surely the Riders will do the same for the Rattlers. The good news for Saskatchewan fans is there are only ever 5 players on the court so the “too many men” foul is a rarity. This is where a Roughriders fan would retort, “the perennial powerhouse on the field that the Eskimos are, at least our ticket sales aren’t reliant on whichever past-his-prime rapper we can get in for halftime.”

All potshots aside, the best games to attend are always the rivalry games. Imagine the atmosphere at the Edmonton Expo Centre when Stinger fans are forced to up their loudness to drown out the Rattlers fans! Mix in the “basketball game meets rock concert” concept that League President and COO Lee Genier plans to execute and you have yourself a great night out. Fans, like players, battle hard during the 40 minutes of regulation (remember, FIBA rules are four 10-minutes quarters instead of four 12-minute quarters) but are all handshakes and smiles after the buzzer.

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Darrin Conway