Winnipeg Sea Bears clinch first home game in front of sold-out crowd

The Winnipeg Sea Bears won their first-ever home game Saturday against the Vancouver Bandits in front of a sold-out crowd at the Canada Life Centre. 

The newest team in the Canadian Elite Basketball League beat Vancouver 90-85.

Ahead of Saturday’s game, coach Mike Taylor said the team has appreciated fans’ excitement for the new team and has been working hard at training camp, which opened on May 19, to capture a win. 

“We can feel the enthusiasm, the energy in the city,” he said. 

“I think the city’s welcome for the Sea Bears is going to be a big one and we want to go out there and put our hearts into the game and play as well as we can you know obviously to start off with a win.”

A white man with a white basketball jersey with green lettering stands next to a black man with a black jersey with green lettering.
The Winnipeg Sea Bears practice ahead of their match against the Vancouver Bandits on Saturday, May 27, 2023. (Prabhjot Lotey/CBC)

Tickets to Saturday’s game were sold out. 

Fans gathered for a pre-game party at True North Square Saturday afternoon. 

Four kids cheer with two holding signs saying 'go sea bears go', with one boy with medium length brown hair jumping in the air. Two adults dressed in blue green shirts with a bear logo look on.
Basketball fans gathered in True North Square Saturday afternoon ahead of the Winnipeg Sea Bears’ first home game. (Prabhjot Singh Lotey/CBC)

One of those fans was Mike Johnston, who said the new teams means a lot for the city. 

“I’m not shy about how much I already like this team,” he said. 

“I think it’s fantastic for the city, and I’ve been waiting for this since back in the Thunder days, so it’s huge for the city.” 

A white man with short grey hair lets out a cheer.
Gabriel Langlois, better known as Dancing Gabe, lets out a cheer during a pre-game party in True North Square for the Winnipeg Sea Bears’ first home game Saturday, May 27, 2023. (Prabhjot Singh Lotey/CBC)

Sea Bear point guard Glen Yang said he’s already feeling the love. 

“You can tell the city is more than ready for a pro basketball team here and hopefully we give a good product,” he said.

“I think it’s exciting for everybody because it’s new for us, it’s new for the fans and everyone feels like they’re part of something bigger than themselves.”

A man with a goatee stands while speaking to a reporter.
Winnipeg Sea Bears point guard Glen Yang said he can tell the city is excited to have a new pro-basketball team to root for. (Prabhjot Singh Lotey/CBC)

The Sea Bears face off against the Brampton Honey Badgers on Thursday. 

Their next home game is on June 12, when they play the Edmonton Stingers.