You don’t have to watch the NBA finals to catch some great basketball action.
You can simply head down to Duchess Park Secondary School June 9 and take in the action at the fourth annual PG Summer Hoops Classic three-on-three tournament. And, you can help raise money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation at the same time.
The tournament is organized by Nav Parmar as a salute to students he’s coached over the years.
“Having the opportunity to be a role model and somebody that kids can look up as a positive influence means a lot,” Parmar says. “This tournament is just a representation of my thanks to them, they’ve helped me get this far in basketball. Everything I do, from my end, is as a thank you to them.”
The tournament started small four years ago and grew quite quickly. In four years it has raised $37,000 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
“Luckily we were able to hit a home run with the first year and there has been anticipation every year since then,” he says.
The Duchess Park gym will be a very, very busy place with about 100 athletes competing in the tournament, which means more than 30 teams in several different divisions.
“Last year was the most we ever had,” says Parmar. “It seems this year we’re about to surpass that.”
And word is spreading as teams from as far away as Terrace will be in attendance.
“That’s exactly what we want,” he says. “We want this tournament to continue to grow, not only from a fundraising perspective but as an opportunity for players from outside this region to come here and showcase their skill.”
The choice to support the Heart and Stroke Foundation was a personal one for Parmar. He started coaching in 2010 and for a few years he thought about putting on a tournament.
“In 2014, my uncle, who I was extremely close to, passed away of heart failure, he had a stroke,” says Parmar. “At that point, I said no more excuses, this is the right, and got on the phone with the Heart and Stroke Foundation and told them I have this vision of a basketball tournament but I want it to mean more than a basketball tournament.”
The association was behind him 100 per cent.
“One of the things my uncle taught me was to turn a negative into a positive,” he says. “I said I’m going to do exactly what he taught me.”
One of the athletes taking to the floor will be Rebecca Landry, who played in the final last year. She says the tournament is a lot of fun.
“There’s lot of music and tons of people in here, all the courts are filled up,” says Rebecca Landry. “It’s just a great environment.”
Last year she played on a team with Caleb Gregory and Rachel Holmes, who are also students at Duchess Park Secondary School. There will be some rivalries with other students from Duchess Park.
“There’s definitely going to be some competitiveness,” he says.
Garet Anderson started playing basketball in Grade 8 and will also be competing this year. He loves the competitiveness of basketball.
“I had a lot of good friends who were playing playing basketball and a lot of coaches trying to steer me in that direction,” he says.
Anderson will team up Soren Erickson and Dan Zimmerman this year and try to repeat as tournament champions.
“We’re going to go out, have some fun, and play some basketball for a good cause,” he says.
Three-on-three basketball is quite different than the regular five-on-five game. It’s played on a smaller court which means, Anderson says, the transition game is very important.
“In five-on-five you’re head-manning the ball and someone will be sprinting down end to end,” he says. “Whereas the three-on-three is a lot more showcasing your skills … Getting a quality shot off rather than running up and down the court.”
Parmar says that without the support of sponsors, such as title sponsor Mann Dental, Hub City Volkswagen, and the Brink Group of Companies, they wouldn’t be able to host the tournament.
John Brink, who presented Mann with a $500 cheque last week, says the tournament fits in with the Brink Group of Companies’ local sponsorships.
“I think it’s just amazing,” said Brink. “It’s an event that is for the family. The main thing is the fundraiser … For us as a sponsor we are delighted to be part of it.”