Frequently overwhelmed by the populous provinces, Canada’s three territories see each other as their best shot at a win at national competitions.
That won’t be the case at the U17 Boy’s National Basketball Championships.
There, the three regions will come together and field a pan-territorial team.
“None of the territories would have competed if we had not combined athletes, primarily because of our size – populations and the number of athletes competing in our sport who can compete at the national level in our country,” said territories’ head coach and Basketball Yukon president Tim Brady. “It’s a very tough challenge for all the territories.”
The 12-person team will include five Whitehorse players. From Porter Creek Secondary are Peter Hanson, Logan Boehmer and Soleil Stimson. Other local players include Jake Jacobs from Vanier Catholic Secondary and Tanner Coyne from FH Collins Secondary. The remaining team will be made up from five players from NWT and two from Nunavut.
“It’s predominately a First Nations team, which is a good thing, and I know these young men are going to work extremely hard,” said Brady. “That’s all we can ask: that they play hard and fearlessly and they do the best they can. And we know that the training we do with them here is really one of the big benefits for them.”
The coaching staff also includes assistant coaches Jamie Shaw from Whitehorse and Nick Diem from Yellowknife.
The seven Outside players will be arriving in Whitehorse this week for a month of training, hitting the hardwood six days a week while here.
“It’s a fair bit of work to organize and it’s a commitment for the athletes that come into the Yukon and train – and a fair bit of expense,” said Brady. “It’s a good training opportunity and it’s a good opportunity to participate at the highest level at their age-group in Canada.”
Because of the Canada Summer Games last August, there was no U17 Championships, however, the year before a pan-territorial girls team picked up a couple wins to finish ninth in the country. The previous year, a pan-territorial boys team did the same, snagging wins over PIE and Newfoundland.
“Just to get a win is a huge accomplishment,” said Brady.
Three of the five Yukon players – Boehmer, Jacobs and Coyne – played on Team Yukon at last year’s Canada Summer Games.
Boehmer and Jacobs also played for Team Yukon in the Arctic Winter Games in March. At the Arctic Games, Boehmer was the tournament’s high scorer with 119 points. Having now graduated from high school, Boehmer recently reached a deal to play basketball for the Grande Prairie Regional College Wolves next year.
The U17 Boy’s National Basketball Championships will take place August 2-7 at the University of Manitoba.
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com