Calgary's Minhas siblings buy ownership stake in Edmonton Stingers basketball team

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Calgary siblings and entrepreneurs Manjit and Ravinder Minhas have claimed an ownership stake in the Edmonton Stingers, the Canadian basketball team announced Wednesday.

The Minhas siblings — two heavy hitters in the Calgary business community — were inaugurated Wednesday as new managing partners of the Stingers and investors in the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL), joining Taranvir Vander and James Burns of Stingers Entertainment Group.

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“We’ve always had a love for basketball and saw what the Stingers are doing here in Edmonton and got excited by it, and said, you know what, there’s actually an opportunity for us to get on board,” Ravinder said in an interview with Postmedia ahead of the announcement.

The team’s now four-person ownership group have “an equal say in how we’re going to take this thing forward,” Ravinder said. Further details around the Minhas siblings’ ownership stake are being kept private. Financial terms of Stingers Entertainment Group’s February 2023 deal between Vander, Burns and Reed Clarke to take over the team also were not disclosed at the time. (Clarke was president, CEO and part owner of the Stingers until September 2023, according to his LinkedIn profile.)

The Stingers’ ownership group has an overall 10 per cent stake in the CEBL.

Wednesday’s deal makes Manjit the first female owner in CEBL history.

“We really wanted to help bring some diversity to ownership,” she said. “Understanding that the next generation of not only players but fans and owners can look and be different than it has in the past — I think that helps the CEBL league grow itself across the country.”

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Manjit is perhaps publicly best known as one of the dragons on CBC’s long-running show Dragon’s Den. She also sits on the board of organizations including Enbridge Inc. and ATB Financial. Together, Manjit and Ravinder are co-founders of Minhas Breweries and Distilleries, whose products are available in more than 1,000 stores across Alberta. They have for several years sponsored the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks basketball franchise.

In January 2023, Manjit was also named honorary lieutenant-colonel for the Canadian Armed Forces and Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada.

The Minhas siblings’ new stake won’t change the Stingers’ operations, the team said in a news release.

“The majority of our beer sales in our early days actually came from Edmonton and northern Alberta, and it remains a key market for us, so we’re grateful for the opportunity to get even further involved in the community,” Manjit said in a statement.

Ravinder Minhas and Manjit Minhas at a press conference to announce their equal partnership with the Edmonton Stinger owners on Wednesday, April 3, 2024 in Edmonton. Greg Southam/Postmedia

The CEBL played its inaugural season in 2019 and currently has 10 teams across Canada, including the Calgary Surge.

The Stingers open their season against the Calgary Surge on May 21 at the Scotiabank Saddledome — a high-profile start to the season before the Surge retreats to its normal digs at the WinSport Event Centre.

The Surge is owned by Usman Tahir Jutt, CEO of Calgary-based Chirp Group Inc., and Jason Ribeiro, a former strategist at Calgary Economic Development, and national and provincial commentator.

In the near-term, the siblings are concentrating on bringing a championship to Edmonton. Last year, the Scarborough Shooting Stars defeated the Surge in the CEBL finals.

“We’ve gotten our feet wet and we’ll keep swimming and see where it takes us,” Ravinder said.

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