Off The Mat: Best basketball town per capita

Thoughts on experiencing my first All Native Basketball Tournament in Prince Rupert, B.C.

There are a number of reasons why my first sports column in Prince Rupert is about basketball.

For starters, this city is obsessed with the sport. In fact, one of the main reasons I applied and ultimately accepted my current role at the Northern View is the fact that the job posting literally described Prince Rupert as being one of “the best basketball towns per capita in all of Canada.”

I was optimistic, and a little bit skeptical, of this claim, but since arriving and living here for the last nine months, I have to say the city has lived up to the hype.

There are minor league games where five year olds run up and down the court, learning how to play. Amateur men’s league games draw consistent crowds at 11:00 p.m. on a weekday evening. During the summer, you can go to the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre and you will always find enough experienced players for a quality pick-up game.

I have lived in a lot of places where people are passionate about the game, but it has never quite approached the level I have experienced here in Rupert. It’s a beautiful thing.

READ MORE: Teams set for All-Native Tournament

The second reason this is column is about basketball is the fact that the All Native Basketball Tournament starts this weekend. All I’ve heard since arriving in Prince Rupert is how this tournament is like nothing I’ve ever seen before, and after watching last year’s senior men’s final and covering the All Native Qualifying Tournament, I have to admit I am looking forward to feeling that atmosphere up close and personal.

There is clearly something different about the way basketball is played here and during the tournament.

I am a competitor and have played in some big games before, but I was always able to compartmentalize the losses, let go of the disappointments and move on to the next day.

The teams and players competing in the tournament carry the pride of their friends, families and communities on their backs. They play like it’s personal — because for them it is.

READ MORE: 58th All Native see familiar winners

I’m looking forward to being a part of it, and soaking it all in, if only from the sidelines.

I want to see if the Skidegate senior men’s team has another championship run in them after last year’s incredible comeback victory. I want to know if Hazelton’s women’s team can defend it’s crown against Bella Bella. Can the Port Simpson Strike force make it three intermediate division victories in a row, and can Hydaburg, Alaska, maintain its upper hand against Old Massett in the master’s division?

These are all questions I can’t wait to see answered on the basketball court, and I’m sure it won’t disappoint.



matthew.allen@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fire on Third Ave. in Prince Rupert

Prince Rupert Fire Rescue crew attended the hotel

Fisheries and Oceans Canada lifts at-sea observer requirements due to COVID-19

Fisheries Management Order went into effect April 2 and will remain for 45 days

Two armed robberies with-in a day

RCMP are asking for information

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Northern Health ready for COVID-19 surge

Health authority confident with inventory of ventilators

As 240K apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

COVID-19 world update: 1,000 cases hit U.S. military; Good news in Spain, Portugal

Comprehensive collection of coronavirus news from around the world

B.C. dance competition cancelled

The annual event was scheduled in P.R. from May 3 to 9

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open this week

Bars, cannabis sector eligible for $40B credit program from government bank

Applicants must go through their own banks to access the program

Immunocompromised community call for more options to get groceries during COVID-19

One woman has decided to build a greenhouse to ensure she is able to access food throughout pandemic

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Most Read