Skip to main content


Surge host Stingers in CEBL season opener

Surge/Stingers CEBL season opener Surge/Stingers CEBL season opener - CEBL

Game one of the CEBL has season arrived and it’s a Battle of Alberta as the Calgary Surge welcome the Edmonton Stingers to Scotiabank Saddledome at 9:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. local on Tuesday.

Fans looking to take in the action can stream the game live on CEBL+ powered by BetVictor, TSN+ and on the CEBL mobile app available for iOS and Android devices. This contest will also be nationally televised in Canada on TSN3, and available on NLSE in the United States and Courtside 1891 outside of North America.

As conference rivals Calgary and Edmonton enter this game with plenty of history. The teams faced off five times in 2023, and it was the Surge who dominated the series. Calgary won three out of four regular season games before bouncing Edmonton out of the playoffs in the Western Conference Semifinal.

Much of the Surge’s success against the Stingers, and most other teams, was predicated on their exhausting defence. Calgary held Edmonton to just 74 points per game in their five matchups and sub-40 per cent shooting in four of five contests.

Notably, the Surge did a great job stifling Nick Hornsby, the Stingers’ second-best scorer (12.9 points per game) and do-it-all forward. In their four losses, the import averaged 7.8 points compared to the 17 points he put up in their only win. Edmonton needs Hornsby to be more aggressive in Tuesday’s opening matchup to unlock their chances of figuring out Calgary’s defence. Along with his scoring production he led the team in rebounding (8.4) and assists (4.8) last season and when he operates with conviction, the Stingers offence opens up.

Another way Edmonton can change their fortunes against Calgary is by dictating the pace of the game more often. Going back to their lone win, it was the only time last season the Stingers scored more fastbreak points (+17) and points in the paint (+6). By speeding things up, Edmonton didn’t give Calgary’s league-best defence (80.7 points against per game) time to get set, and they were able to march right to the rim. It was the only game in which the Stingers were able to take advantage of their usual two-point scoring efficiency from last year. Edmonton shot 52 per cent from two-point range in the win, right in line with their 51.3 per cent rate on the season (No. 3 in the CEBL), but in their four losses they were held to just 42.5 per cent shooting inside the arc.

For what it’s worth, the Stingers have made a number of additions that should allow them to up their tempo of play on a more consistent basis this season. Starting with Mike Nuga who enters his third year in the CEBL and first in Edmonton. The Toronto native was the No. 2 scorer on the Saskatchewan Rattlers last season (13.3 points per game) and will likely get consideration to start in Edmonton. 

Meanwhile, the Stingers also added a pair of import guards, Jacob Evans III and Davion Warren, who bring NBA and NBA G League experience to the team. Fans of Edmonton will be happy to see the team prioritizing depth in the backcourt after a season where their guard rotation showed little consistency.

For Calgary, they’ll hope for more of the same as they kick-off their season looking for a third-straight win over Edmonton behind the strong play of their CEBL All-Canadian guard Sean Miller-Moore. The Brampton, Ont. native enjoyed facing Calgary’s cross-province rival as his 18.8 points per game against the Stingers were the most he averaged against any Western Conference team in 2023. Edmonton is the only team he scored 20 points on multiple times and Miller-Moore’s best game of last season came in a come-from-behind win against the Stingers when the 25-year-old dropped a season-high 23 points on a season-best 71.4 per cent shooting.

Despite Miller-Moore and Calgary’s previous dominance in the matchup, they’ll enter Tuesday with a couple question marks. Beginning with how they’ll make up for the absence of Stefan Smith, the Surge’s starting point guard last year. The Ajax, Ont. native is currently in France finishing up his season with Orléans Loiret Basket of the French Pro B league. Smith was top three on the team in scoring, led them in assists and was often the Surge’s steadying presence. Going back to their rallied victory in May for instance, he scored 14 of Calgary’s final 24 points as they set the record for largest Target Score time comeback in CEBL history.

They’ll likely need one of veteran Malcolm Duvivier or import addition Corey Davis Jr. to step up and fill that gap in the starting lineup until Smith returns. Duvivier enters his fifth CEBL season, completing the first four as a member of the Vancouver Bandits while averaging 10.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 2023. The Toronto native has been a model of consistency and will surely be leaned upon by Calgary for his surehandedness.

Meanwhile, Davis Jr. will be making his CEBL debut in game one and is an exciting addition for the Surge who sorely lacked his outside scoring prowess last year. The 26-year-old is a 39.4 per cent three-point shooter in his professional career, well above Calgary league-worst mark of 29.4 per cent last season. Davis Jr. ought to provide a nice jolt of scoring for the Surge who were the CEBL’s lowest scoring offence last season, averaging 81.7 points per game.

Calgary is also hoping they can replace the production of Simi Shittu. The All-CEBL first team member averaged 16.8 points per game and 9.8 rebounds against Edmonton last season, and his frontcourt presence was instrumental for their dominance in the paint. It’ll be hard to make up for the loss of the CEBL’s leading rebounder last season and time will tell who will fill that void for the Surge.