The Calgary Surge basketball club celebrated the end of its first season in the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) by hosting a free community event at Century Gardens Sport Court on Tuesday.
After losing the championship game on Sunday, the team’s inaugural season officially came to an end. Usman Tahir Jutt, chairman of the Calgary Surge, said that the celebration is the end of chapter one and the beginning of chapter two.
“Here we are with the players and coaching staff and front office, [in] downtown Calgary to really celebrate and set the tone for what season two will look like,” said Jutt.
The Calgary Surge invited all Calgarians down to celebrate with face painting, speeches, meet-and-greets, pictures with the team and their mascot and more. Kids and adults of all ages came to support the team and check out the new court at Century Gardens.
The Calgary Surge funded a portion of the funds required to build the triple courts.
Fans’ reaction to the Calgary Surge first year
Gail Robins is referred to as the team mom and one of their biggest fans. Robins said she has been to all of the games and has seen the team grow over the year.
“They became such a big part of the community,” said Robins.
“It’s so nice to have basketball in Calgary.”
Robins said that while attending community events, she would notice how available each individual player made themselves to their community.
“You just see the joy on kids’ faces. They are the future and they are playing with their heroes, they’re out on the court playing with their heroes,” said Robins.
At the celebration, Robins was given pointers on how to shoot a basketball from a player and the head coach. She was able to score her first basket with the coaching of the Calgary Surge team members.
“I got my first basket, that was so exciting,” said Robins.
Many children got to meet and play basketball with the team at the end-of-season celebration including Brayden Williams. Williams hasn’t had the opportunity to attend a game during the Calgary Surge’s first season but said he hopes to go next season and maybe play on the team himself one day.
Williams said that he doesn’t have a favourite team member “because they’re a local team, and I’ll feel bad to leave them out.”
Players bid adieu to their season
Guy Edi came all the way from France to join the team. He said that he’s disappointed the season ended when it did but is proud of the team they were able to pull together in such a short amount of time.
Edi said that in the team’s first year, they’ve seen players come and go, he himself joined midway through the season.
“But we still found a way to get this group together and go as far as we can,” said Edi.
Edi hopes to return to the team for their second season and continue what he has started. Edi said that despite just starting out, the team and coaches were really able to pull through and exceed expectations.
“For me, it’s a blessing to get this experience on my resume and I can be proud that I played in this league and got this type of experience,” said Edi.
What is in store for season two?
Jutt said that moving forward, the most important thing to the team is to have more community involvement and to get closer to those who ultimately made them successful in Calgary. He also said that it was important to host the celebration at the new court because it is in the heart of downtown Calgary.
“We thought no better way for us to connect with the fabric of Calgary than to be in the heart of Calgary,” said Jutt.
And, as good as winning is, it’s the losses that solidify a team, said Jutt. Although the season didn’t end how they wanted, the loss still brought the team together. For Jutt, that’s ending on a high note and now they have the map to get to where they need to next season.
“The power of what you see publicly is driven by a small but mighty team and to see the growth that the team has had from the beginning and not really knowing what this was going to look like to where it is today, a fully-fledged brand, integrated with all aspects of Calgary, is phenomenal,” he said.