Greg Sanderson goes up for a layup during a Yukon Men’s Basketball League game between the Royals and the Thunder Gods at Porter Creek Secondary School on Nov. 28 in Whitehorse. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

Yukon Men’s Basketball League expands in fourth season

‘Come playoff time, guys get a little more intense and the skill level increases’

The Yukon Men’s Basketball League is back for a fourth season and the league continues to grow.

Colin LaForme, president of the Yukon Men’s Basketball Association, said the idea for a league in Whitehorse stemmed from a group who routinely played pick-up basketball together and felt there was more interest in an organized league.

“There was always talk of, ‘this guy would play, that guy would play, this guy used to play,’” said LaForme.

All the talk led to the decision to host a tournament, mainly as a way to gauge interest in the idea. The tournament was a success, with teams from Whitehorse and squads from Dawson and Old Crow.

“That was the kick-off to our league,” said LaForme. “We were able to say there are enough guys.”

The first season, the league was made up of four teams and approximately 60 players.

The league has since grown to eight teams with a 30-game season and playoffs.

Although the regular season started in October, LaForme said the league is always ready to accept new players.

“Our skill range is brand-new to the sport all the way to some ex-pro players,” said LaForme.

The “rec-competitive” league focuses on fun and exercise, but quality tends to increase as the playoffs approach.

“We have an opportunity so guys can learn the game, learn how to play in a fun environment,” said LaForme. “But it still is a men’s league and come playoff time, the intensity does pick up.”

Focusing on fun, exercise and competition makes the league the perfect balance for most players.

“It’s a great mix of a league because you get a nice long season to get out and to get your exercise in, because that’s what most of us want,” said LaForme. “You get out, get some exercise, have some fun, go for some pints, that sort of thing. Then come playoff time, guys get a little more intense and the skill level increases.”

“We’ve all got to go to work the next day, so it’s all about getting out, getting some exercise and having some fun playing some basketball.”

Although currently scheduled to run through March, LaForme said based on feedback from last year and the prevalence of vacations in March it is likely this season will be adjusted to end slightly earlier.

The fourth annual Lights Out Yukon Invitational tournament, sponsored for the second time by Kilrich Building Centres, is scheduled for Jan. 18 to 21 and registration is open until Dec. 8.

Last year’s edition of the tournament included 12 teams, both men’s and women’s divisions and teams from across the North.

“The initial tournament was just to see if we could get a league going,” said LaForme. “This year we’re trying to grow and expand it again.”

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com.

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