While hope is on the horizon in our ongoing efforts towards wrestling COVID-19 into our past, for one long running Prince Rupert tradition, the clock has run out on the options for February's All Native Basketball Tournament..
The Board of the All Native Basketball Tournament Committee waited as long as they possibly could before recenlty reached the very tough decision to cancel the 2021 edition, leaving time to stand still for 365 days and the defending champions to hold their titles for an additional year.
ANBT officials made their decision public earlier this week, citing the ongoing measures on social gatherings as their guiding principle towards public health and safety for both participants and fans.
This years event, which would have been the 62nd tournament, had been scheduled for the Russell Gamble Auditorium and the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre Arena for February 7-13.
Though with the prospect of our current social distancing measures to remain in place for the early months of 2021, and the still high-level of concern over the COVID-19 coronavirus, the path towards a tournament had no room to move forward.
|Notice of cancellation for the 61st All Native Tournament|
posted to the Tournament website this week
First and foremost for Prince Rupert is the lost sporting and cultural event that brought the many Nations of British Columbia, Alaska and beyond together for the one week. A period of solidarity, sportsmanship and at times even political and social comment that brings the city to life.
As well there will be a financial impact on the Prince Rupert Commercial and Hospitality sector from the cancellation, with lost revenue on hotel rooms, along with financial hits for restaurants and shopping options.
While the tournament operations will also feel a significant hit from the cancelled tournament, with the event generating much of the required financial funding for year round operations and planning for the tourney.
Towards that concern, ANBT Chairperson Peter Haugan will be seeking some help from the community in the weeks and months to come.
He plans to approach the loyal sponsors for the tournament, looking for ways to try and bring in enough financial assistance to keep the lights in the office on and the planning for 2022 in motion through this clearly challenging year ahead for the tournament.
You can keep up to date on any addtional news from ANBT organizers from their Facebook page here.
The cancellation notice has made for a range of news coverage both locally and provincially this week, some of the notes can be reviewed below:
All Native Basketball Tournament Cancelled (video)
2021 All Native Basketball Tournament cancelled due to pandemic
The All Native Basketball tournament has been cancelled
62nd All Native Basketball Tournament cancelled for Feb. 2021
BC's All Native Basketball Tournament cancelled because of COVID-19 concerns