OTTAWA, Ont. (December 18, 2019) - The Ottawa BlackJacks of the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) announced Wednesday the appointment of Dave Smart as the team’s first general manager. The Canadian coaching legend will direct the basketball operations department of the new professional basketball team in the nation’s capital, while continuing to serve in his leadership role with Carleton University.

The most successful coach in Canadian university men’s basketball history, Smart earned a .925 (591-48) winning percentage with Carleton University. He was head coach of the Ravens from 1999-2000 through the 2018-19 season, after which he took a new role as Director of Basketball Operations for the university.

Smart led the Ravens to an unprecedented 13 U SPORTS Final 8 national championships in his 18 years as bench boss, including 11 Ontario University Athletics (OUA) titles, the most by any coach in conference history. His team success earned Smart the Stuart W. Aberdeen Memorial Trophy as U SPORTS Coach of the Year a record 10 times, in addition to 10 OUA East Coach of the Year honours and two OUA Coach of the Year awards.

In addition to his varsity-coaching career, Smart has also worked with Canada Basketball on numerous occasions. Smart led the U18 national team that captured the silver medal while hosting the FIBA U18 Americas Championship in 2018.

Smart took a year-long sabbatical for the 2015-16 university season to again represent his country. During his time away from Carleton, Smart was the assistant coach of the Canadian Senior Men’s National Basketball team that finished third at the FIBA Americas Championship in Mexico City. Smart helped Canada end the tournament with an 8-2 record, including a decisive one-point victory over host Mexico in the bronze medal game.

At the 2016 FIBA Rio Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila, Philippines, Smart continued in his role as assistant coach of Team Canada. He also had the honour of coaching two of his former Ravens players, Philip and Thomas Scrubb, who were both named to Canada’s 12-man roster.

Smart’s record for producing pro-level talent is unmatched across the country. Over his 18 seasons at Carleton, Smart has helped numerous former Ravens make the transition to professional basketball, many who played in the CEBL during its inaugural season including: Ryan Ejim, Guillaume Payen-Boucard, Joe Rocca and Connor Wood.

Smart was appointed a coaching consultant by the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League prior to the 2019-2020 season, focusing on defensive mindsets and player attitude. 

A graduate of Queen’s University, Smart, 53, resides in Ottawa with his wife, Emily, and their two sons, Theo and Gabe. He was inducted into the Order of Ottawa by Mayor Jim Watson in 2016.

On November 20, the CEBL welcomed the Ottawa BlackJacks to its roster of franchises, becoming the first expansion team to join the league. The CEBL is the only First Division Professional League partner of Canada Basketball.

Since the launch of the BlackJacks, basketball fans in the Ottawa/Gatineau region have started joining the action through the team’s first season ticket deposit drive. A $50 non-refundable deposit guarantees fans front of the line access to courtside and lower bowl tickets in the Arena at TD Place, in addition to a limited-edition Ottawa BlackJacks official New Era team T-shirt. The deposit drive ends January 20, 2020. For more information or to secure your part of Ottawa basketball history, visit or call 1-613-232-6767 Ext 8221. 

Season and group tickets, along with flex packs are set to go on sale in January, while single game tickets will go on sale to the general public in March.

The BlackJacks tip off their inaugural season May 7 when they travel to St. Catharines for a date against the Niagara River Lions. The first home game is scheduled for May 14 at the Arena at TD Place against the Hamilton Honey Badgers.

All 20 regular season BlackJacks games will be streamed live on CBC Gem, CEBL TV and the Island Sports Network. Ottawa will also be part of a nationally televised broadcast as part of the CBC Game of the Week when the BlackJacks travel to Hamilton on May 30.


“The Ottawa BlackJacks welcome the most successful basketball leader in Canada. Throughout his illustrious career, Dave Smart has developed a basketball program that is the envy of university sport throughout the world. Dave will help create a winning environment in Ottawa as we build together the foundation of this franchise. The professional basketball landscape is filled with alumni of Dave Smart and the Carleton Ravens. We thank Carleton University for their commitment to the community. There is no better person to orchestrate a winning team. As the BlackJacks strive to be champions in the community and on the court, we just took the best first step.” - Michael Cvitkovic, Interim President, Ottawa BlackJacks Professional Basketball Club

“Creating a professional basketball program is an exciting challenge. Our city and the thousands of basketball fans deserve a team. I am honoured to be the first general manager in franchise history and look forward to seeing many familiar faces represent the Ottawa BlackJacks as the season unfolds. I am thankful to Carleton University for allowing me to accept this opportunity while continuing my role with the university.” - Dave Smart, General Manager, Ottawa BlackJacks Professional Basketball Club