Gitxsan drive to the hoop in All-Native Basketball Tournament

The Mystics women’s team look to repeat as champions as part of large Gitxsan contingent.

Most outside of northwest B.C. don’t think of basketball right off the bat when we think of all-native sports. They might be more likely to think of more traditional sports like lacrosse or canoe racing.

That is certainly not the case, however. One of the biggest sporting events for First Nations communities has become the All-Native Basketball Tournament in Prince Rupert and that particular event has become very popular, especially amongst local groups.

The big tournament started with opening ceremonies last weekend and ends this weekend.

According to Roland Wright, who plays for the Hazelton Gitxsan team, over the years basketball has become very popular and the players have become very capable.

“We might not have the best facilities in the world be we use what we have and we’ve developed some pretty good skills,” he said.

Hazelton, for example, has a number of teams entered and if past performance is any indication there should be some excellent results at the end of the contest.

His partner Carlene Wright, who has played on the women’s side for a number of years, feels that the Gitxsan Mystics team from Hazelton she plays for will be the one to beat again this year.

“We won the whole thing last year and we’re looking to repeat again this year,” she said.

The tournament has been going on for 59 years now and keeps bringing back a high level of skill and competition to the event.

Teams from the northwest of B.C., southern B.C. and southeast Alaska have been preparing for the competition since last year’s version and now can hardly wait to get out on the court to demonstrate their skill.

Wright said that while the team cannot practice together as regular a basis as school teams, when they do get together, the time is well spent.

“Lots of the players have jobs that take them away from home for weeks at a time,” she said. “It’s just the way lots of those jobs are.”

In that situation, one of the top players of the Prince Rupert team has been under scrutiny . Another team has suggested that he not be eligible because he is not a full time resident of the community. His eligibility was not confirmed at press time.

In another case, the defending team from Hydaberg, Alaska was allowed to play the qualifying round with only five players. Some questions were asked since the team had no substitute players available.

Because most of the teams come from small communities of the Northwest, teams from the south have some special rules they must adhere to. Players from these teams must play a minimum number of games with their team in order that it does not become an all-star squad.

All players must be able to prove their First Nation’s lineage.

Players will compete in four divisions: Masters, Senior, Intermediate and Women’s.

Carlene Wright said that she has been impressed with the way that community members have been getting out to support the team at the tournament.

“It makes me feel very proud to be part of the community when I see them show up to cheer us on the way they have over the years,” she said.

sports@interior-news.com

 

The women’s Gitxsan Mystics team from Hazelton hope to repeat as champions at the All Native Basketball Tournament in Prince Rupert. (Shannon Lough photo)

Just Posted

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

Helping hands: the benefit of hiring people with disabilities

““It’s important for the employer to see the benefit of hiring people with disabilities.”

SD54 trustee candidate’s state their case

Candidates answered questions from the public on SOGI, the no grade system and marijuana legislation

Road to the World Juniors starts in Smithers

Walnut Park first stop for tour promoting next year’s World Junior Championships.

Controlled fire on Hudson Bay Mtn

Fire on the southeast portion of mountain is a controlled burn by Smithers Mountain Bike Association

Naked man jumping into Toronto shark tank a ‘premeditated’ stunt: official

The man swam in a tank at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Workers at BC Interior mill strike as negotiations resume in Kelowna

Picket lines went up at 4 a.m Tuesday, Oct. 16 at Tolko Lakeview Division in Williams Lake

Toronto Police ID B.C. man as naked shark tank jumper

David Weaver, of Nelson, is wanted on mischief and assault charges

In Florida, families seeking the missing amid storm damage

Five days after the hurricane slammed into the Florida Panhandle, people are struggling to locate friends and loved ones.

Prince Harry and Meghan start Aussie tour with baby gifts

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are on a 16-day tour of Australia and the South Pacific.

EU’s Barnier hopes Brexit deal possible in ‘coming weeks’

Britain is set to leave the European Union in March, but a Brexit agreement must be sealed in coming weeks to leave enough time for relevant parliaments to ratify it.

Earth samples show dust from B.C. pipeline blast not a health threat: Enbridge

Enbridge says earth sampling shows mineral and metal composition is well below provincial and federal standards for urban and residential areas.

Postal services ready for looming wave of legal cannabis deliveries

Legal cannabis is set to usher in a wave of high-value, age-restricted parcels in the mail system, and delivery companies say they’re ready.

Mega Millions prize of $654M is nation’s 4th-largest

No one has won the U.S. jackpot in almost three months

Most Read