Edmonton

Edmonton Stingers name Barnaby Craddock first head coach

It took some time, and finessing but in the end the Edmonton Stingers finally got their man.

Craddock will coach the Stingers, and remain head coach with U of A Bears

The Edmonton Stingers will be coached by Barnaby Craddock, who also coaches the University of Alberta Golden Bears. (Min Dhariwal/CBC)

It took time and some finesse but Edmonton's newest pro basketball team finally got its man.

University of Alberta Golden Bears coach Barnaby Craddock is the Edmonton Stingers first ever head coach, the Canadian Elite Basketball League announced Wednesday morning.

"It was an exciting opportunity, I mean one you can't say no to," said Craddock, who will continue to coach the Bears.

"Professional basketball is something that I got a chance to play, but I had to chase it over to Europe," he said.

"To be able to see Canadian guys have that opportunity here, see the community of Edmonton get high-level professional basketball, it's just great to be part of it," he said.

'Proven track record'

Craddock also adds general manager duties to his full portfolio.

Named head coach of the University of Golden Bears men's basketball program in 2012, Craddock has led the program to a 91-33 record. The Bears won the Canada West Conference championship twice in 2014 and 2017.

Craddock has also been an assistant coach with various other Canada Basketball national teams, including the 2011 FISU Games team that earned silver in Shenzhen, China.  

Clearly, Craddock's basketball resume shows he is more than qualified to lead the way, beating out 10 candidates on both sides of the border and overseas.

"He's a great community guy, incredibly driven and really wants to win here, and a lot of players want to come play for him," said Lee Genier, president and COO of the Stingers.

"He has a proven track record as a winning coach on the national stage and has strong ties to the community," Genier said.

"I know that the people of Edmonton are in for some very exciting basketball starting in May and Barnaby is the right person to lead the team in its historic inaugural season."

The Stingers will recruit 10 players, seven of them Canadian. The team will play 20 games in the shortened season, 10 at home.

"They've got their model in place and I think it's a great model," Craddock said.

Unlike other leagues that have come to Edmonton, the CEBL has aligned itself with Canada Basketball and the sport's international governing body FIBA, the International Basketball Federation, giving it legitimacy.

Checks all the boxes

"They're checking all the boxes to put itself as a league in the global structure of FIBA leagues," said Paul Sir, executive director of the Alberta Basketball Association.  

"We finally have a real pro league that's linked together across the country and I'm hoping that the city will embrace that vision and get behind it," said Sir, who was coach and general manager of Edmonton Energy, the city's most recent basketball team which played from 2007 until 2012.

Other teams in the CEBL are in Hamilton, Guelph, St. Catharines, Abbotsford, and Saskatoon. Players are being recruited from Europe, Australia and New Zealand, the NBA's G League, as well as Canadian and American colleges and universities.

"I think you're going to see a lot of professional Canadian guys coming back from Europe," said Craddock, who played in Europe from 1997 to 2002.

The Stingers play their first game May 10 at the Edmonton Expo Centre against the Niagara River Lions.

Season seats start at $199 and climb to $750 at court side. Single-game tickets for the 4,300-seat stadium will go on sale later this spring.

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