Haida Gwaii and New Zealand are just a few b-ball games away.
For the second time this year, Māori players landed on a Skidegate court all the way from Aoteraoa/New Zealand for a week of basketball and cultural sharing.
This time, it was the womens’ turn, with the Māori Junior Girls joining the Gitga’at Junior Girls, Old Massett’s Gwaii Storm, and the Skidegate Saints Junior Girls for a four-day tournament at the George Brown Rec Centre.
“We want to come back, but more importantly, we want you guys to come back home,” said the Māori’s head coach, Raymond Cameron, speaking after a super tight and talented Māori squad won the Saturday night final against the relentless Gwaii Storm.
Echoing the Saints’ Desmond Collinson and Gitga’at coach Terry Monture, Cameron said the rising stature of women’s basketball is a worldwide phenomenon.
“We are all, collectively, a part of that movement,” he said.
Collinson gave special thanks to tournament organizer Tracy Hageman and the whole Skidegate Band Council for supporting the billets, food, games, even a visit by Detroit’s Harlem Crowns. Other sponsors included Taan Forest, and the Council of the Haida Nation.
The whole idea, he said, is to create Indigenous connections not only on the northwest coast or even the Pacific, but internationally.
“For this to happen, it’s just so worth it,” Collinson said.