Haida teams going to this winter’s All Native Basketball Tournament will get to play on a sparkling new court.
For the first time since 1971, the court in Prince Rupert’s Russell Gamble Gymnasium has been completely refinished.
The $74,000 project was a joint effort by the Port of Prince Rupert, Northern Development Initiative Trust, and the City of Prince Rupert.
A few members of the Charles Hays Rainmakers got to test out the improved court on Nov. 8.
Grade 12 student Skyler Wesley was impressed.
“I like it,” said Wesley. “Brand new, university sized, it will prepare us when we try out for university teams.”
The Russell Gamble Gymnasium is the focal point of the annual All Native tournament, and for many athletes in Prince Rupert.
With the new funding, the original gym floors were sanded and refinished. The lighting system was also upgraded with energy-efficient LEDs, and the City of Prince Rupert crest is emblazoned in centre court.
The colour scheme — red, white and black — was chosen to honour traditional Coast Tsimshian colours.
“The city is grateful to our partners for helping us to renew one of the most used recreation spaces in Prince Rupert,” said Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain at a commissioning of the new court.
“We are looking forward to seeing the new floor put to use at this year’s All Native tournament.”
The Port of Prince Rupert contributed $28,000 to the upgrade through its Community Investment Fund, making this the 47th project it has funded over the past six years, and part of a total $5.8 million in regional investments.
The other major contributor, Northern Development Initiative Trust, donated $15,000 through its Community Halls and Recreation Facility program, while the City of Prince Rupert contributed the remaining $31,000.