New owners, name represent historic overhaul for Fraser Valley’s professional basketball team

Mining entrepreneur Bryan Slusarchuk and real estate developer Kevin Dhaliwal are taking over the Canadian Elite Basketball League's professional basketball team.

Fraser Valley basketball

Credit: Bandits

Mining entrepreneur Bryan Slusarchuk and real estate developer Kevin Dhaliwal are taking over the Canadian Elite Basketball League’s professional basketball team

It’s a new dawn for professional basketball in the province.  

The Fraser Valley Bandits of the Canadian Elite Basketball League announced today that the team has been purchased by Vancouver mining executive Bryan Slusarchuk and Surrey real estate developer Kevin Dhaliwal.  

The Bandits become the second team in the CEBL’s history to be purchased, joining the Scarborough Shooting Stars which was bought by Nicholas Carino, a founding member of Drake’s OVO brand and Sam Ibrahim, co-owner of venture capital firm Playground Global. The rest of the CEBL’s eight teams are owned by the league.  

In addition to the purchase, the team also announced a new name and logo. Henceforth, the club will be known as the Vancouver Bandits. It will, however, continue to play home games at the Langley Events Centre, which it moved into last year. The name change, while slightly confusing, offers some alignment with the Vancouver Giants, which also play at the LEC.  

Fraser Valley basketball

Credit: The new owners of the Vancouver Bandits Bryan Slusarchuk (left) and Kevin Dhaliwal (right), with Bandits president Dylan Kular 

“The CEBL is the most exciting thing to happen in Canadian pro sports in decades and the Bandits are a marquee franchise within the league,” said Slusarchuk, the co-founder of Vancouver-based K92 Mining in a release. “Being a season ticket member and community partner has allowed me to witness firsthand that the Bandits are focused on building a sustainable footprint in the region by growing all areas of the game from the youth to the pro level.” 

Like Slusarchuk, Dhaliwal—the president of Surrey-based Essence Properties—has deep roots in Lower Mainland basketball. “I was fortunate to be coached by mentors who taught me the importance of teamwork and collaboration,” he said. “We are keen to. . .inspire local youth by giving them an opportunity to be supported by and to be part of one of the best pro sports leagues in Canada.” 

The 2022 season marked the Bandits’ most successful one at the box office to date, including the most attended game in CEBL history on June 18, when the Brandits hosted the aforementioned Shooting Stars to a crowd of 4,404 fans. 

Following the purchase of the Bandits, the league maintains that Vancouver Island and Okanagan are strong prospects for potential CEBL expansion.  

The 2023 CEBL season runs from May to August.