On June 22, 2018, the Edmonton Stingers were announced as the fourth member of the Canadian Elite Basketball League, a recently-established league scheduled to launch in May 2019. The league features six teams total, with three teams based in Ontario (the Guelph Knighthawks, Niagara River Lions and Hamilton Honey Badgers), with western teams including the Saskatchewan Rattlers, Fraser Valley Bandits and the aforementioned Stingers.
Last Sunday – July 22, to be exact – the Stingers celebrated their one-month birthday. To celebrate the anniversary of their initial launch, I spoke with Greg Francis, the Head of Basketball for the CEBL and he was kind enough to share a few moments with me as well as answer a few questions on the Stingers and the CEBL in general.
Our conversation opens with an easy question; however, it’s one that has confused many members of the Edmonton media. Nearly every story or article on the Stingers has mentioned that Francis will be the inaugural head coach in the franchise’s history. Spoiler alert – Francis is not and will not be the coach of the Stingers.
In addition to questioning Francis about the head coaching position in Edmonton, I wanted to discover exactly what the role of Head of Basketball encompasses. In addition, a major query of mine was on his relationship with the league in general; being involved in multiple teams’ operations, how does one remain unbiased? While multiple attempts to get a pro Edmonton remark were made, all were handled with a laugh as the phrase “power hungry” is not in Francis’s vocabulary. In the HOB’s words – “I just want the league to be good.”
Click the play button to hear the entire conversation.
I’d like to thank Mr. Francis once again for his time in chatting with me. The Head of Basketball has my confidence that he will adeptly influence each team to make decisions that lay the foundation for long term success.