If you love intense basketball games, pride and culture. Then the All Native Basketball Tournament is a great place to be!
In 1947 the Prince Rupert Basketball Association hosted the Northern British Columbia Coast Indian Championship tournament. Seven teams played during a three-day period and there were approximately 400 fans watching. The tournament was so successful that they decided to make it an annual event. In 1950 the Native Basketball Association took over the organization of the tournament. In 1959 the Native Basketball Association met with their sponsor, Irwin Garfield of the Empress Hotel, along with the owner of the Royal Hotel and held the Easter tournament. The All Native Basketball Tournament moved from March to February; due to the seasonal rounds. Fishermen were unable to commit to March as it is the Roe Herring season in Northern BC. Ha’liwilgisiyaask (February) is the month of Hunting and Trapping, this is a time where fishermen are able to take off and participate. This makes the ANBT an essential part of the North Coast life during the winter, which has a significantcultural and economic role on the North Coast. First Nations from various communities come together to celebrate their pride and identity as they represent their communities and nations. There are 4 divisions in this tournament; Ladies (16 years and up,) Intermediate (16-21 years old,) Senior (21 years and up,) and Masters (35 years and up.) This year there are 55 teams participating and the ANBT will take place February 11 th to February 18 th . Each year there is also a community chosen to host the Opening Ceremonies, this year will be Laxgalts’ap (Greenville.) There are no words to describe the feeling and atmosphere of the opening ceremonies, the culture and dancing is a must see! The All Native Basketball Tournament is the largest tournament in Canada. We have been to many tournaments and have watched many college and NBA games and nothing compares to the pride, culture and heart in the All Native Basketball Tournament.
We are the Ladouceur’s, Gage and Rebecca! Gage is a Cree First Nation from Vancouver and Rebecca is a Ts’msyen from Prince Rupert. Basketball is a big part of the “Ladouceur’s” life and even more so Gage’s story. Gage grew up in “The East Side” of Vancouver where he faced many challenges and used basketball as an escape. Gage played high school basketball for the Britannia Bruins where he came first place and won provincials. Gage first played in the All Native Basketball tournament with the Intermediate East Vancouver team. Gage then went on to play College Basketball for Columbia Bible College. He is now playing for the Prince Rupert Grizzlies Senior Men’s basketball Team and coaches alongside his wife, Rebecca. They coach the Prince Rupert Cubs who came second their first-year coaching, came first their second year, and came second the third-year coaching. Rebecca has played basketball since she was young and continues to play now. Rebecca has played in the All Native Basketball Tournament with Metlakatla, Prince Rupert Rain and Lax Kw’alaams ladies teams. With all teams she was fortunate enough to play with hall of famers and basketball role models: Roberta Edzerza (first women to play in the All Native Basketball Tournament,) Denise Wilson and Judy Carlick-Pearson. Including many other awesome teammates; from teams she played with. The history of the All Native Basketball Tournament means so much to so many, Gage and Rebecca feel fortunate to be a part of the annual ANBT.