The All Native Basketball Tournament (ANBT) is still set for Feb. 7 to 13, 2021 with plans continuing for the 62nd annual competition to be held despite the current days of the pandemic.
“It’s a wait-and-see situation,” Peter Haugan, ANBT committee chairperson told The Northern View.
Haugan said at the Oct. 2 committee meeting, a couple of members were against holding the tournament due to COVID-19 restrictions, however the majority ruled in favour of continued planning.
“We have to prepare as if we are holding it,” Haugan said. “If we have to cancel, then we have to cancel, but in the meantime we are going along as if we are having one. We will continue and see what the health officials say we can or cannot do … Dec. 22 is our ‘yea or nay’ time.”
The qualifying tournament scheduled for November has been cancelled Haugan said, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Haugan said ticket sales generate three-quarters of the income and the tournament still has costs even if it doesn’t go ahead. There are fixed costs such as rent that still need to be paid for, he said.
The new professional grade portable floor which is laid over the ice at the arena, cost in excess of $200,000, new portable baskets cost $75,000 and seating for the main gym cost $35,000.
The event organizer said at this time the committee doesn’t know what it will be allowed to do, or not allowed to do. Haugan said, if they can’t fill the seats they can’t have the tournament.”
“The tournament is so expensive to run. If we can not run it with our fans, we can’t run the tournament. We don’t have the funds to do it,” Haugan said. “We even need corporate sponsors.
The tournament costs between $250-300,000 per year. It is a financial generator for local businesses in the community with restaurants, accommodation providers, and entertainment establishments all benefiting from the sports event.
“It will affect a lot of businesses in Prince Rupert if the tournament doesn’t go ahead. There will be a lot of lost income,” he said.
“I want to see the tournament go forward, but we are not going to do it at the risk of someone,” he said.
“We feel for our loyal fans because everyone wants to see the tournament go forward, but then again we are all apprehensive about COVID-19,” Haugan said. “We still have to wait to see what Dr. Bonnie Henry says we can do or can’t do. All we can do is play it by ear and keep rolling the dice.”