Basketball BC championships in limbo

Return to phase two of B.C.'s COVID-19 protocols has halted the annual competition

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By Alex Antrobus 

Basketball BC is clinging to the hope it will be able to proceed with its 2021 Provincial Club Championships — unlike PACWEST — after a rollercoaster season that has seen repeated changes in sporting safety guidelines.

Basketball BC, an organization that seeks to build and sustain the integrity of basketball, had been worried it might not be able to stage its championships after B.C.’s oversight body viaSport tightened sports guidelines last fall.

However, on Mar. 22, viaSport announced it would allow Basketball BC to hold “two or three club-based competitions,” with “loosened travel restrictions.”

Still, nothing is set in stone.

Connor Ranspot, youth programs and special events coordinator for Basketball BC, said there is still some uncertainty whether the 2021 Provincial Club Championships will actually take place.

Teams were hopeful for championship

This back-and-forth has been a theme for Basketball BC through a rocky 2020/2021 season.

Corbin Castres, co-coach of the Burnaby Knights, didn’t start training the team until November and by then, he and his co-coach Aaron Mitchell just tried to make the best out of a bad situation.

“The kids had already signed up … and they pay money to be there,” said Mitchell, who added that they were running the team within the government restrictions as they prepared for the 2021 championship season. “And that’s all we’ve been really doing, planning for next year, kind of getting our schedules ready for the following season and having our fingers crossed.”

PACWEST faced similar issues

Jake McCallum, president of PACWEST, said the organization was also anticipating a possible 2021 winter competitive season. However, viaSport’s return to phase two of regulations halted their plans.

“We’ve moved in and out of different phases, we’ve progressed to phase three, and then taking a step back to phase two,” McCallum said. “So anytime there’s an announcement, we have to listen to what the health authority is saying and then adjust or just stay status quo.”

Coach Mitchell said that he’s glad to be back at work and that COVID-19 restrictions are being loosened.

“[I’m] hoping that we still stay the course for spring break,” Mitchell said. “I know some things have opened up, but I trust our community and our school will do [its] best to try to make the right choices.”

The slideshow below is reporter Alex Antrobus speaking to Corbin Castres about restrictions which disallow him and Aaron Mitchell to bring other coaches onto the team, making their commitment to the Burnaby Knights fundamental for its success.

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