Basketball fever on the rise, as teams prepare for the All-Native

  • Jan. 30, 2008 12:00 p.m.

Seven Haida Gwaii teams are readying themselves for the annual pilgrimage to Prince Rupert for the All-Native Basketball tournament. The week-long event (Feb. 10 to 16) is a major focal point says Masset Intermediates coach David Hill. The All-Native is the tournament his team of under 21-year-olds strives toward. “Once January comes around they are training extra hard,” he says. They are also fundraising extra hard to pay for the week-long stay in a Rupert hotel. At least 50 teams in four divisions from all over coastal BC and Alaska descend on Prince Rupert for the All-Native tournament, an event that first started in 1960. In Skidegate, Masters coach Kevin Borserio is excited about the event as well. The Skidegate Saints Masters (35 and over) have won the event for the past two years. “We’re going for a three-peat,” he said. The Masters are training hard with three practices a week. They also have some new young 35 year-olds on the team and Sid Edenshaw of Hydaburg, Alaska, voted most valuable player several times, is the team’s pick up player. Other Haida Gwaii teams include the Senior mens teams in Old Massett and Skidegate and the Haida Spirits, a women’s team from Old Massett. Belinda Humphries of the Haida Spirits says this is the fourth year in a row Old Massett has sent a women’s team. With games running in two arenas from 8 am to 10 pm, basketball is key at the All-Native, but Mr. Hill, who has been going since he was 15 years-old (about 20 years) says the week is great for connecting with old friends and, if you’re lucky, making new ones. The traditional food available in the auditorium is another perk, he says. Mr. Borserio encourages islanders to seize the opportunity to catch the action. “It’s a wonderful event. Everyone should experience it,” says Mr. Borserio.