The expansion Winnipeg Sea Bears are set to make their Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) debut in a Saturday night matchup at home against the Vancouver Bandits at 8:00 pm ET at the Canada Life Centre. 

Watch the Winnipeg Sea Bears vs. the Vancouver Bandits at 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT LIVE with a limited-time free preview of TSN+
The two western conference rivals will look at making an early season statement in the newly formed CEBL Western Conference. Ahead of its milestone fifth season, the CEBL restructured their model of competition: separating the league’s 10 teams into an Eastern and Western conference.
Winnipeg’s opening weekend roster features a heavy dose of local talent.
All in all, there will be six players suiting up for the Sea Bears who call Winnipeg home, including three men—Ryan Luke, Shawn Maranan and Donalnd Stewart—who previously played for the University of Winnipeg Wesmen.
Perhaps the team’s most impactful local, however, will be Simon Hildebrandt, a University of Manitoba product who the Sea Bears selected first overall in this year’s U SPORTS draft. The 6’9” forward from Winnipeg amassed roughly 17 points per game and shot better than 45 per cent from the field last year for the University of Manitoba Bisons—on his way to earning U SPORTS National Rookie of the Year in 2023.
The Bandits, meanwhile, who are also hosting the CEBL’s Championship Weekend from Aug. 11-13, are set to kick off their fifth season in the CEBL.
Vancouver will look to build on a franchise-record 12 wins they set in last year’s regular season.
Head Coach Kyle Julius, who led the Bandits to the CEBL Finals in 2020, is returning behind the bench this summer after spending the previous two years as the team’s general manager. The Bandits are returning three players from their 2022 roster, including Alex Campbell, Vancouver’s all-time franchise leader in scoring.
In total, the trio of returnees—Campbell, Malcolm Duvivier, and Shane Gibson—will be expected to should the brunt of the offensive workload. Duvivier and Gibson both ranked in the top-5 in 3-point field goal percentage in 2022. 
Although the rest of the Bandits’ roster will feature many new faces, they won’t be lacking in height, as Vancouver has five players who stand between 6’9” and 6’11” on their opening weekend lineup.
Notably, Vancouver should expect Stefan Jankovic, a free agent acquisition, to protect the rim. Jankovic, a 6’11” centre from Mississauga, Ont., has four years of NBA G League experience. In 2021-22, he also played professional basketball in Taiwan alongside Bandits’ Head Coach Julius, as both were members of the Plus League’s Formosa Dreamers. He averaged over 18 points and 8 rebounds with Formosa last year.