The 2023 All-Native Basketball Tournament will take place on Snuneymuxw First Nation territory in March. Pictured here, an image from the 2015 tournament, where the Snuneymuxw Native Sons won the championship on home court. (News Bulletin file)

The 2023 All-Native Basketball Tournament will take place on Snuneymuxw First Nation territory in March. Pictured here, an image from the 2015 tournament, where the Snuneymuxw Native Sons won the championship on home court. (News Bulletin file)

Junior All-Native Basketball Tournament will return to Snuneymuxw territory

First Nation announces that 2023 tourney will take place in Nanaimo next March

Snuneymuxw First Nation is hoping to recapture magic from 2015 when the Junior All-Native Basketball tournament takes place on its territory next year.

The Snuneymuxw Native Sons team captured the junior championship at the Vancouver Island University gym in 2015 and will have an opportunity to repeat history as the 2023 tournmament will take place in Nanaimo next March.

Snuneymuxw partnered with Kw’umut Lelum Foundation, City of Nanaimo, First Nation Health Authority, Nanaimo Hospitality Association, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools, Nanaimo Tourism, and Vancouver Island University for the event.

In an e-mail, Snuneymuxw Coun. Kate Good, tournament event director, said games will be held at the Snuneymuxw Recreation and Wellness Centre and Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools gyms. There are other venues, but details are yet to be finalized, she said.

The Snuneymuxw team took third place in this year’s tournament in Kelowna and Chief Mike Wyse said he was looking forward to next year’s tournament.

“It’s an honour to continue the legacy of this epic, high-energy tournament here on Snuneymuxw territory,” Wyse said in a press release. “We are deeply proud of our Snuneymuxw athletes … we look forward to cheering on the next generation of leaders. All are welcome to join us and experience the power of this extraordinary event.”

Jayden Thomas, a Native Sons player who has played in numerous tournaments, said the event is something he looks forward to “all year.”

“The energy everyone brings to the tournament is awesome and unlike anything else. It’s also an opportunity to meet up with old and new friends, celebrate our culture and our love of basketball,” Thomas said in the press release.

Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog said he’s already looking forward to the tournament.

“We know that [the tournament] breathes life into the cities where it’s hosted,” Krog said in the press release. “The opportunity to share our vibrant city with the [tournament] community is a privilege that we look forward to.”

The tournament will begin with an opening ceremony, complete with cultural performances, and could feature approximately 90 teams.

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