The annual All Native Basketball Tournament’s Christmas Classic will not be dribbling balls across the court this December due to the venue’s closure, tournament organizers announced on Dec. 3.
The Jim Ciccone Centre, where the event is held, is affected by a holiday schedule and will be closed on Dec. 27 and 28, forcing the cancellation of the seasonal event, which was set to host an array of teams.
“They’ve never been closed on those days,” Peter Haugan, tournament organizer, said. “Every year, we plan this thing,” he said.
It used to be the Civic Centre who gave them a call confirming the tournament’s go-ahead, Haugan said, but this year they were given no prior word from the venue about the closure.
“Why wouldn’t have [they] given us a heads up or something,” he said. “I didn’t get a call.”
The Christmas Classic is an important event for the community, especially during the holiday season when many players and their families visit Prince Rupert, and locals have time off to participate in the event, Haugan said. Up to 24 teams take part in the event.
Haugan said the holiday competition is a “big deal” for the players.
“All leagues play. All the women in the women’s league, all the men in the men’s league [and] the kids play too.”
He said it was only last month that the larger ANBT main competition was collectively agreed for a return in February. He and other tournament organizers have been busy arranging that.
Haugan admits he didn’t reserve anything ahead of time, adding in the past he has never had to book ahead.
“The last thing on our mind is the Christmas tournament. Now, I see we could have pulled it off, but there was no time to do that,” he said.
“It’s just an oversight, you know. In my case, maybe I should have phoned them a month ago, but our committee wasn’t even ready to run a month ago,” Haugan said.
Haugan said he plans to use a mutual contact to speak to management at the facility to see if there is still something they can do for the basketball tournament.
Norman Galimski | Journalist
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