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Sports This Week: Genier back for second stint as Sask. Rattler president

Rattler fans will recall Lee Genier served as President of the of the team 2018 to 2020.
The Canadian Elite Basketball League franchise recently announced it had appointed Lee Genier, left, as the team’s President.

YORKTON - Lee Genier has returned to the fold with the Saskatchewan Rattlers.

The Canadian Elite Basketball League franchise recently announced it had appointed Genier as the team’s President.

Rattler fans will recall Genier  previously served as President of the of the team 2018 to 2020.

Genier said he’s happy to be back.

“I have a great passion for this province,” he told Yorkton This Week. “. . . I’ve been so excited. Hopefully you can hear the passion in my voice.”

Genier said he appreciates Saskatchewan and the way it supports its pro teams with fans willing to travel to be part of the excitement.

“It’s part of the DNA of Saskatchewan,” he said.

Genier also has another connection to the province. He spent two years running the Saskatchewan Rush of the National Lacrosse League where he was named NLL Executive of the Year and won a NLL Championship in 2016

A return to the CEBL was a relatively easy decision for Genier who noted the sport of basketball continues to grow and with the move he is part of it again.

“Basketball is the number one growing sport in North America,”  he said, adding the CEBL is part of that.

And in Canada the league is putting homegrown talent on home courts to shine.

“The talent level is there,” offered Genier.

The Rattlers are one of the six original teams in the CEBL and won the 2019 inaugural season championship.

Now a 10-team league, Genier said the CEBL has been building a foundation for the sport. He pointed to Winnipeg where crowds of 11,000 have watched the Sea Bears, and added the Calgary Surge will play their first game of the upcoming season at the Saddledome with 10,000 expected.

“The league is growing,” he said.

In that regard it is widely expected Quebec City will join the CEBL in 2025, with a team in the west also being added to keep the east-west balance.

It will now be Genier’s job to grow the Rattler product.

“I’m very intent on returning a winning team,” he said, adding that is the first step to attracting crowds of 10,000 in Saskatoon.

As in all sports Genier said in part he will be “selling the hope of getting back to a winning product on the court.”

The good news is that the CEBL works basically on one-year contracts, so it’s essentially building a new roster every year.

“There’s a lot of movement in the league by all players,” said Genier.

While Genier said of course they hope to return players like star Justin Wright-Foreman.

“He’s at the top of the list to resign,” said Genier..

The next step is finding the complimentary pieces to create a winning team.

A big part of that is finding the required six Canadian players required by the CEBL.

It will also be a case of re-establishing the team’s base with fans and business leaders at the grassroots. In that sense Genier said the Rattlers need to be part of “growing basketball across the province,” which he added will show “what a great entertainment product” the CEBL is.

“It’s a new, but old vision.”

The Rattlers have also announced their full 2024 schedule, which features a full 20-game slate with one potential home playoff game and Championship Weekend (CW24) happening in Montréal from Aug. 9-11.