Rhonda Lee McIsaac —
This past summer was a busy time for Haida Gwaii basketball players. The Islands sent three youth to the North American Indigenous Games in Toronto on both, girls and boys, Team BC.
Girls’ basketball team Under 14 members, Zoey Collinson, Stacey Edinger, and Alexia Sampson all stood excitedly in the medal line up in July and were presented with hard-won silver medals. In a huddle at the end of the ceremony they cheered for their team and for the others, having shown great pride in their focus, hard work, and sportsmanship.
Zoey (The Beast) Collinson bit down on her silver medal while in line to make sure she wasn’t dreaming. Stacey Edinger was all smiles as she grasped her medal standing beside her teammates, and Alexia Sampson’s smile beamed all the way back home in HlGaagilda Skidegate and Lax Kw’alaams Port Simpson.
Skidegate Saint, Cole Sankey, played on the Boys’ Under 19 team.
“We didn’t get the outcome we had wanted but I can walk away from the experience at least saying that I left it all out there on the basketball court,” said Sankey. Sankey is currently attending Langara College taking Aboriginal Studies. This year he made the Dean’s list for his academic performance!
Sankey says he “had a fun time meeting new people and playing with Team BC”, and while not knowing anyone on the team in the beginning, they are now “family through basketball … when you go through the struggles we did as a team, that’s where you bond”.
“It was by far the best experience I’ve had playing at such an elite level, to compete we had to be in top-notch shape especially because the gyms were hot at times”, Sankey stated. He plans on pursuing recreational leadership after he completes the Aboriginal Studies program.
The NAIG attracted over 5000 players to the tournament and saw 22 teams competing in 14 sports in 59 divisions.