By Sam Cortes, Communications Coordinator

On Saturday, May 27, a new era of professional basketball hits the court in Winnipeg, with the debut of the Winnipeg Sea Bears, the newest member of the Canadian Elite Basketball League.

Among the players for the new squad of hoops heroes is Winnipegger and University of Manitoba product Simon Hildebrandt, who was chosen first overall in the CEBL’s U Sports Draft.

The Sea Bears are the latest iteration of professional basketball in Manitoba. Here’s two other teams that came before them


Winnipeg Thunder

For three years—1993 through 1995—the Thunder brought exciting action to the Winnipeg Arena. The team started in the World Basketball League, which folded following the 1993 campaign, and then joined other Canadian teams in establishing the National Basketball League, with future Winnipeg mayor Sam Katz as the league’s president.


Winnipeg Cyclone

The Cyclone made waves upon their arrival to the International Basketball Association in the 90s to early 2000s, bringing NBA legend Darryl Dawkins on board as coach and Hoop Dreams star Arthur Agee in as a player. Though the team never won a league championship, star Andrell Hoard won two MVP trophies.


A tribute to Manitoba’s pro basketball history is currently on display outside the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.