Rattlers will have new GM in quest to repeat as CEBL champions
Team taps U of S Huskies men's basketball head coach to be their general manager
The province's only pro basketball team has a new general manager. The Saskatchewan Rattlers named Barry Rawlyk to the post on Thursday.
Rawlyk was an assistant coach with the Rattlers last year, their inaugural season in the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL).
He takes over from Greg Jockims, who as GM and head coach led the Rattlers to the CEBL championship.
Rawlyk said he is happy to take the GM responsibilities.
"I'm very excited about it," said Rawlyk, who is also the head coach of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies men's basketball team.
Rawlyk said his first priority is finding a head coach.
"We're going to look far and wide and hopefully be able to come up with the coaching staff that's going to be able to replicate some of the success we had last season," he said.
"I am hopeful that we're going to be able to find somebody who has a depth of knowledge of the game and can maintain good working relationships with the players."
As a fledgling pro league that plays in the summer, it can be difficult to bring back players.
Rawlyk said players in the CEBL can earn anywhere from $400 to $1,000 per game.
"When you look at the [20-game] schedule, that's a pretty good pay rate."
He's hopeful there will be some continuity with the roster.
"We have to see how that's going to mesh. It's always good to have a core, particularly from a championship team, back," Rawlyk said.
"But it's also good to infuse some new life into the team, some new blood. And so there's going to be a combination of that, hopefully."
He said the Rattlers do a great job of looking after the players and helping them improve their skills.
"I think the players look at it from the perspective that they can continue to develop as a player here while they play. So I think that's an important selling point for them."
Time for both Huskies and Rattlers
Rawlyk is looking forward to the challenge of coaching both the Huskies and being the Rattlers GM.
"I've always been heavily involved in basketball at different levels and it's something that greatly energizes me," he said.
He said the team will try to build on its success, both on the court and in the stands.
"I think the word is starting to get out about how good the product is," he said. "Not only the talent level of the players and the entertainment value of the games, but all the things surrounding the game and in the in-game presentation."
The defending CEBL champions will open the season away from home on May 8 when they take on the Fraser Valley Bandits. The Rattlers' home opener is May 14 against the Bandits.