by Rhonda McIsaac —
“Welcome to our Salmon trail. Welcome to our trails across this land, to our place,” sang the High Water Singers, welcoming 61 teams to the annual 17-and-under Junior All Native Basketball Tournament in Kelowna, Sunday night.
The emcee welcomed the standing room only crowd and greeted each team as they entered for the opening ceremony. Over 850 athletes from across BC are taking part in this tournament.
The Jr Girls HlGaagilda Skidegate Saints wore their custom hoodies, entering with the Haida Nation flag and with ‘Play for Jay’ on their minds, the Jr Boys HlGaagilda Saints bounced and danced their way across the floor to the heartbeat of the powwow drum.
Following the opening, at a Jr Girls team meeting, coaches Gidin Jaad Erica Ryan-Gagne and Wade Collinson prepped their team for the opening game. “We’re a strong team,” the coaches reminded the players – play hard, run hard, and try hard!” The Jr Girls HlGaagilda Saints are up against the Hesquiaht Storm in a morning match at the main gym.
The Jr Boys HlGaagilda Saints will play their first game tomorrow afternoon against the Hesquiaht Braves.
The Gaaw Old Massett team Haida Wilder is scheduled to play the winner of the Jr Girls matchup between the Hesquiaht Storm and HlGaagilda Saints in the afternoon tomorrow.