Photo courtesy Paul Yates Vancouver Sports Pictures

Photo courtesy Paul Yates Vancouver Sports Pictures

Club national basketball tourney coming to LEC in August

Close to 90 teams will represent eight provinces Aug. 3-6 and 9-12

Close to 90 teams representing eight provinces and territories are slated to hit the hardwood for eight days of high-level basketball action in early August and if all goes well, this could just be the start.

“We knew it was one of those ‘if you build it, they will come,’” explained Winston Brown, the executive director for bballnationals.

A club national basketball championship had long been discussed and became reality last summer, when Langley Events Centre hosted the girls club basketball national championships.

While Brown did not want to discount the current provincial team format which sees representatives of all the provinces compete each summer, bballnationals wanted to offer what virtually every other sport provides to its top-level athletes.

“There is a national (club) championship for almost every other sport in Canada, except for basketball,” he explained.

“We thought it was a bit of an injustice to have only 12 kids from each province involved in club nationals.”

And now both the girls’ and boys’ championships will be contested at LEC on consecutive weekends, beginning with the girls’ championships (Aug. 3 to 6) with the boys taking their turn a few days later (Aug. 9 to 12).

Forty girls teams – competing in the U13, U15, U17 and Open divisions – are registered to take the floor in the first of the two championships while another 50 are expected in the boys draw, which features U13, U15 and U17 divisions.

The plan is to continue growing the event, while also rotating where it is housed each year, with Langley Events Centre serving as host for one of the two championships. Another goal is to make this event a must-attend on team’s calendars, instead of teams assuming they need to go south of the border for elite competition.

“We are trying to keep as many teams in the nation as possible involved in basketball to have not just bragging rights, but to celebrate our nation would be fantastic,” Brown said.

“Keep it local and develop some sort of national pride with it.”

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