All-Native ready to roll Sunday

  • Feb. 2, 2011 6:00 a.m.

Three teams from Old Massett and two teams from Skidegate are heading to the All-Native Basketball tournament in Prince Rupert this year. Old Massett will take Intermediate, Masters and Senior teams to the tournament. Player Trevor Russ said teams are in training several times a week and are looking forward to the games. The tournament starts runs from February 6 to 12 in Prince Rupert at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre. Skidegate Senior Saints player Duane Alsop said their team and the Intermediates will play in Prince Rupert. They have been training five times a week. Both players said they would like to get more teams coming here to compete against, as it would help them train. Two local tournaments over the winter, the Christmas Classic and the Clan Tournament, help keep players in the game, but it’s good to play other teams too. Mr. Alsop said part of the strategy to attract teams here is for local players to head out to more tournaments off-island too. It’s a matter of funding though, he said. Peter Haugen of the ANB in Rupert says 53 teams are coming this year from as far interior as Kamloops (welcome the women’s Simpcw team!). Teams are also coming from Nanaimo, Vancouver, Hydaberg, Bella Coola, Kispiox, Hazelton and more. He said the spread of teams is a bit different this year, with 17 Seniors teams, the most they’ve ever had. This year there will be less Masters teams (only 10), 12 Women’s teams, and 14 Intermediates. For the first time in two decades the tournament has disallowed ringers, meaning teams aren’t allowed to bring in a player that isn’t from their village. Mr. Haugen said most everyone he’s talked with is happy about the change. “We found it was eroding community pride,” he said, as one of the players ended up sitting on the bench if a ringer was brought in. Now players have to go back and play for their homes. Players still have a bit of choice as they are allowed to play for their mother’s or father’s village, or for the village they are registered in. Games in the Senior Men’s and Intermediates divisions get going on Sunday, starting at 8 am, while action in both the Women’s and Masters will start until Monday.