Edmonton Stingers Gameday, You Know, If We Had Gamedays

Tonight your Edmonton Stingers were scheduled to play their fifth game of the season, third at “the hive”. The scheduled opposition was the Canadian Elite Basketball League’s (CEBL) first ever expansion team the Ottawa BlackJacks.

This also would have been game five of the season for the BlackJacks. The neat factoid about this game for them is that it would have been their first outside the province of Ontario.

We have assembled a roster that combines youth and experience with a record of success. The players signed to the first BlackJacks roster in franchise history represent a group of men who have great pride in the City of Ottawa and will work hard to deliver a championship to our nation’s capital.” That is the quote on their website from Dave Smart their General Manager.

Due to international FIBA rules, the BlackJacks can only list 8 of the 12 players they have signed. Let’s see how they stack up versus the Stingers.

Here are the four guards Ottawa have listed. Any information on the players is taken directly from their website. The link to their respective stories is attached to their names:

Yasiin Joseph, 6′-1″ – “11.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 20.1 minutes in 77 games Carleton Ravens.”
Alain Louis, 6′-1″ – “7.7 points, 2.2 rebounds and 13.5 minutes in 45 games throughout three seasons with the Ravens
Lloyd Pandi, 6′-4″ – “15.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists…and 22.5 minutes in 22 games for the Ravens
Munis Tutu, 6 ft, “7.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 19.8 minutes in 129 games split between Carleton University and Loyola Marymount University (LMU)

Niagara River Lions Alex Johnson (right) defends against Edmonton Stingers Xavier Moon (left) during Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) game action at the Edmonton Expo Centre on Friday May 10, 2019. (PHOTO BY LARRY WONG/POSTMEDIA)

Now let’s look at the top three returning Stingers guards from last season starting with the big off-season acquisition of Mambi Diawara. His stats totals are taken from the Calgary Dinos website while all other averaged stats are from last season only and collected from RealGM.

Mambi Diawara, 6’4” – 60 games played averaging 26.3 minutes per game, 17.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists.
Xavier Moon, 6’2” – 32.3 minutes, 19.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists.
Adika Peter-McNeilly, 6’3” – 24.5 minutes, 12 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists.
Mathieu Kamba, 6’5” – 25 minutes, 7.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists.

Let’s stay with the good guys and look at our top three returning forwards from last season plus the huge off-season signing of Marlon Johnson from the Saskatchewan Rattlers. Reminder, the numbers shown are averages from last season.

Picture from National Post

Marlon Johnson, 6’10” – 25.1 minutes, 9.5 points, 7 rebounds, 1.6 assists
Travis Daniels, 6’8” – 28.3 minutes, 17.6 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists
Jordan Baker, 6’8” – 30.5 minutes, 13.9 points, 9.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists
Brody Clarke, 6’8” – 13.1 minutes, 5.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists

Let’s see what the BlackJacks have to offer. Again, the stats are taken from their website:

Eric Kibi, 6’6″ – “7.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, 0.6 assists and 18.9 minutes in 188 games playing professionally around the world”
Tajinder Lall, 6’6″ – “7.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 17.0 minutes in 92 games with Carleton
Jean Emmanuel Pierre-Charles, 6’8″ – “5.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 23.2 minutes in 70 games as a pro
Christopher Ware, 6’8″ -“7.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 19.6 minutes..197 games as a pro

Summary:

For the apples to oranges comparison of CEBL numbers to numbers posted outside the CEBL, the Stingers seem to have this one in the bag. Unless of course the four unnamed BlackJacks are superstars, Ottawa will try their hand to buck the typical expansion team blues. On this night, the Stingers could have and should have warmed up the band.

Editor’s note: The cover photo can be found here.

A Chat With ECBC Trappers Coach Ethan Elias

With all the hullabaloo surrounding the Edmonton Prospects and Dr. Randy Gregg’s soon-to-be baseball team, here is your reminder that another team plays at Re/Max Field. That team is the Edmonton Collegiate Baseball Club, also known as the ECBC Trappers. I asked Coach Ethan Elias a few questions about their status amongst the hullabaloo but first some details about the ECBC Trappers in case you are not familiar with them.

The ECBC play in the Canadian College Baseball Conference (CCBC). Straight from their website, “The CCBC, a division of the Premier Baseball Association, is an independent college baseball league that is affiliated with institutions from The BC College Athletic Association and educational institutions from Alberta.”

On the ECBC website is an article named “5 W’s Answered About The Edmonton Collegiate Baseball Club” written shortly before the 2019 Spring season. This was their answer to the question, who are you? “Student Athletes from Grant MacEwan, U of A, Concordia, and NAIT make up our team. Central Alberta athletes with possible Saskatchewan athletes in the future. As with any collegiate program, we are here to help open future doors for our athletes.”

The Spring season is played mid-March through Mid-May with games typically played in doubleheaders. You can understand why the 2020 edition of the league was cancelled as those timelines are parallel to the current pandemic.

Boys putting in work. Picture originally posted on Win Column Sports.

Naturally then my first question for Coach Elias was to describe the process and emotions of having to cancel the spring season of ECBC?

COACH ELIAS: Having to cancel this season is obviously disappointing. However the health and safety of our players is paramount and it was out of our hands from Day 1. The professionals in the Health and safety field made it very obvious that having a season this year would be irresponsible and potentially dangerous for our players and our fans.

What was your relationship with the Edmonton Prospects specifically regarding Re/Max field?

COACH ELIAS: We are very thankful to the Edmonton Prospects organization with hats off to Ryan Jagoe and Pat Cassidy for their support.

Do you have a comment about Dr. Randy Gregg and his 10 year lease of Re/Max Field? Do you feel ECBC will still be welcome at the Park?

COACH ELIAS: I have the upmost confidence in Randy and his team to grow the game of baseball in Edmonton. Randy spoke at our Dinner at The Diamond Fundraiser and I believe we will have a very strong relationship moving forward as we share the same desire to keep baseball in the River Valley at Re/Max Field. I am excited for whats to come and the City should be also.

I did ask for inside information about the potential of the ECBC Trappers fall season, which runs September through October, but with no answer to give we will all have to find out together.

Thanks Coach for the text message interview. Hopefully in September we can talk in person at the ballpark.

 

 

 

Dr. Randy Gregg Needs To Resuscitate The Edmonton Capitals

As a long time Edmonton Prospects volunteer (7 years) and former Edmonton Rush employee (6 years) I have deep rooted issues when the following phrases are linked: Edmonton City Officials, Oilers anything. The tail wags the dog so like it or not, the next Edmonton Baseball team will be owned by Dr. Randy Gregg and associates. While Dr. Gregg does not technically own a baseball team yet, when he holds the press conference to introduce his team he needs to already be wearing an Edmonton Capitals jersey.

The Edmonton Capitals, for those who do not know, were owned by Daryl Katz. Katz is the owner of the Edmonton Oilers. I feel confident that you have been reminded that Dr. Randy Gregg formerly played for the Oilers collecting five Stanley Cup rings. While new teams tend to like to do silly “name the team” contests, this situation calls for a straightforward “here we are” approach! The situation I reference is the optics of one news source citing Gregg for wanting a WCBL team which then forced the league to come out and admit they told him it was not that easy (the breakdown)!

Many fans will clamour for the return of the moniker “Edmonton Trappers”. Using baseball speak, here’s three reasons that would strikeout:

  1. Using the name of a former beloved Triple A baseball team will only amplify fans pining for a return of affiliated (associated with the MLB) baseball. It will not happen. Roll your eyes if you wish because the story is from the Prospects website but as the author of said article, the only opinions expressed are by the people delivering the eulogy of previous incarnations of baseball in this town – Baseball in Edmonton article.
  2. The Edmonton Prospects brought back Al Coates, the voice of the Edmonton Trappers. The Prospects also brought back Homer, the beloved mascot of the Trappers. I saw it as the organization tipping their cap and paying homage to a great era in Edmonton baseball. Now the first rule of the internet is never read the comments but! Each time the Prospects did anything to tip their caps to the Trappers the keyboard warriors would come out saying they were doing everything to squeeze every dime out of that old logo. Dr Gregg is not above any of this animosity. Leaving the Trappers logo in the annals of time will attract less hate than bringing it back and tarnishing it.
  3. The overarching angle to Dr. Gregg winning the Re/Max Field bid was all the development that will done to the area. Therefore you are not only trying to sell baseball tickets you are trying to drive people downtown. The Trappers left 17 years ago. Your millennials (age 18-34) will have very limited knowledge of the Trappers unless they had parents who brought them to a game as a kid. Generation X (age 35-50), if they are baseball fans, can probably relate a story or two about catching a game at John Ducey Park but does a 42 year old catching their first baseball game because their checking out the revamped downtown core relate to the Trapper logo anymore than the Capitals logo? Baby boomers (age 50-70) will have the strongest memories of the Trappers logo. The problem is if the Trapper fan in them has kept them away from the Prospects, they will shun this incarnation soon enough.  Target the younger age groups, make sure if they know one thing about the Capitals that is the fact they won a championship during their short life span and that folks need to be there when they do it again.

To further drive home the narrative that Dr. Gregg needs come out strong with a logo that already has some recognizablitity behind it is this statement from Saturday May 23rd’s Edmonton Journal,

“In the meantime, the backwards situation could occur in 2021 where Re/Max Field ends up laying dormant in the summer college circuit”

Seemingly City officials and the good doctor were willing to sacrifice a year of baseball at Re/Max Field because the business deal, which happens to require a baseball team, was too sweet to pass up. Do not waste anymore of the baseball fans time when you do acquire a team. I cannot be the only angry baseball fan in town. The anger is not because one bid was chosen over the other, the anger is because being stripped of sports during the current pandemic, the last thing a sports fan wanted to hear is that you will just have to wait longer to watch live baseball.

Therefore on behalf of all angry fans, please be ready to hit the ground running with a team name and logo when you have that introductory press conference. The synergy is there for you to resuscitate the formerly Oiler branded Edmonton Capitals. If you are going to choose a former logo to ride in on, the Capitals logo makes so much more sense in this situation than the Trappers. It is understood that the Oilers do not have an ownership stake in this version of the Capitals but Randy Gregg would not have to clear any hurdles to use those colours.

Then the task at hand becomes raising the Capitals logo to a level of prominence next to the Trappers logo. As angry as I might be at how this situation is playing out, I do believe Dr. Gregg and associates can accomplish the feat of putting Capitals logo in the rarefied air of the Trappers logo.