Peter Haugan is a multi-generational fisherman and the president of the All-Native Basketball Tournament.

Peter Haugan is a multi-generational fisherman and the president of the All-Native Basketball Tournament.

Fisherman and hoops enthusiast

This week's Heart of Our City — Peter Haugan, fisherman and president of the All Native Basketball Tournament



He’s a fisherman, his father was a fisherman and his grandfather and great-grandfather before that were fishermen.

For 48 years Peter Haugan has fished and while it is his livelihood, for nearly the same number of years basketball, specifically the All Native Basketball Tournament, has been his passion.

Born and raised in Prince Rupert, Haugan, now 63, started fishing when he was 15. Over the years he’s experienced the ups and downs of the industry. For 20 years he was the president of the Prince Rupert Fisherman’s Guild and represented all the crewman on the seine boats, trawlers and halibut boats.

He cherishes a few highlights from his past and his white, bearded merry face lights up when he recounts those stories.

“I fished with my brother on the Golden Chalice for 30 years and I remember one day clearly,” Peter said, then described a time when he was with his brother at the tail end of the Fraser River sockeye season near Haida Gwaii. His brother took a chance to go to an area where there might be salmon but no boats instead of going to where he knew the fish would be. It paid off. He said that a normal day for a commercial salmon seine is about 10,000 to 20,000 lbs of fish.

“We had 80,000 lbs of salmon in one set of tides. It was my biggest day as a commercial fisherman.”

Another memory he’s particularly fond of was, once again, on his brother’s boat. The government paid them to catch the salmon to be tagged and then returned to the sea for research. The brothers had never met the individual contracted to tag the fish on Haida Gwaii, but then there she was.

“Down the dock comes this young lady and she’s going to be the one that tags the salmon and her name was Darlene, and about three or four weeks later we started dating and the next thing you know two years later we’re married.”

The couple have celebrated 33 years together and have had two children, a son who is also a fisherman, and a daughter who is working toward being a chartered accountant.

At one point Haugan’s fishing career almost cost him his hand.

Haugan was out tying a beach line on a salmon seine when he got his left hand pinned under a rock. Fortunately, he was able to pull himself free but his ring finger was sprained, swollen, and he had to cut off his wedding band. Darlene, considered having a broken ring bad luck so he had a new one made by Tsimshian artist, John Sterritt, in the design of an eagle with a diamond for an eye.

These days Haugan mainly fishes for prawns on his 36-foot boat, the Marci Lynn. He especially loves the spring time when he travels along “unique and cool places in British Columbia’s coast line.” He takes his son, who is now in his thirties and a commercial fisherman, and hires two women to pack the prawns once they’ve been caught. He usually finds women who are working over the summer to pay for college or university tuition.

“The experience on the boat really empowers them to know that they can do anything they want to do.” One of the women, he said, has become a doctor and another is on her way to becoming one.

While Haugan fishes to make a living, he lives for basketball.

He is the president of the All-Native Basketball Tournament and has been involved with the tournament almost since it’s inception — 2016 will be the 57th year. He only missed the first six years because he was too young.

As a 13-years-old, he became a scorekeeper before the old Civic Centre burnt down.

“In those days you were allowed to smoke in the gymnasium so by the end of the night the kids are sitting up there choking and could barely see the players.”

He got his chance to play point guard with the Rainmakers in 1971 in his Grade 12 year. Then he went from scorekeeper to referee in his twenties. As the tournament grew in size, the North Coast Tribal Council formed a committee to manage the scorekeepers and referees.

Haugan joined the committee and worked his way up the ladder.

“Next you know you’re vice-president and when they need a president I guess they all just pointed the finger and that was that.”

When he’s not fishing he spends countless hours organizing the tournament. He’s excited for this year’s tournament and the new $206,000 court that’s being made.

“This new court is going to look just like the Charlotte Hornets’ Court. It’s going to be pretty flashy. Our logo will be right at second court facing the fans.”

Life in Rupert has been sweet for the multi-generational fisherman who found an outlet to sate his enthusiasm for basketball.

When he was young and unmarried he used to spend winters in Acapulco. Now he spends those winters organizing basketball tournaments.

“I’m a Rupertite. I’m not going anywhere. I will never move away from here.”

Just Posted

Nic Pirillo received $1,000 Youth WORK Apprenticeship Award presented to him by Erik Brooke and Catlin Chandler of Broadwater Industries, in front of the boat Pirillo built in his free time using newly acquired skills. (Photo: supplied)
Learning and earning with apprenticeship

Nic Pirillo graduated in 2020 and was awarded the Youth WORK Trades award

According to the BC Centre of Disease Control epidemiology mapping from May 30 to June 5, there was an increase of one case in the Prince Rupert area after a three-week stability of no new cases. (Image: supplied BC CDC)
Prince Rupert second dose vaccination clinic to run from June 14 to July 9

Volunteers needed for P.R. immunization clinic, recipients must register and cases back up to one

Capt. Portugal was getting into the festive spirit out working for the City of Prince Rupert and celebrating Seafest 2021, on June 12. During regular business hours Capt. Portugal is known as David Costa. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Searching out fun in the sun for Seafest 44

Families and friends can participate in weekend COVID-19 friendly activities

Seafest is underway with a sunfest theme from June 11 to 13 in Prince Rupert. Alex Hoogendorn vice president of Prince Rupert Special Events is creating sunny times making feature for the decorating contest with his son Caleb Hoogendorn on June 4. (K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Seafest 44 plans a sunfest June 11 to 13 in Prince Rupert

All events in festival are COVID-19 safe, social distancing and health protocols approved by N.H.A.

Relay for Life will be held virtually on June 12. Donations and registered teams are decreased in numbers this year, but there is still time to register. Cancer survivors, Isaac Mastroianni and his dad Mark Mastroianni, wear their Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life survivors shirts. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
A lifeline for many, Relay for Life now needs community support

Prince Rupert is one of just four cities in B.C. with teams registered the June 12 event

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials watching U.K.’s Delta variant struggles, ‘may need to slow’ restart plan

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

Harvesting hay in the Fraser Valley. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
COVID-19: B.C. waives farm income requirement for a second year

Property owners don’t need minimum income for 2022 taxes

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

Most Read