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Youth basketball gaining momentum


In just a few short weeks, the newly created Sea to Sky Youth Basketball League has recruited more than 60 athletes from the Whistler area. At their upcoming fall registration on Oct. 15, they expect to see even more interest.

"We’re seeing lots of interest," said Wendy Craveiro, one of the league co-ordinators. "Hopefully we’ll see a few more. A lot of the kids are enthusiastic because there is no intramural right now, and they’re struggling to get things going at the school level as well.

"We know the high school kids are really into basketball, and there’s even a student this year from eastern Canada who wants to earn a scholarship. There is a lot of talent out there that is itching to play."

The idea was launched at the end of the school year in June when Whistler’s Dr. Stephen Millstein sent home a survey with students to find out who would be interested in an intramural league. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and over the summer a group of parent volunteers took over the organization of the league.

"There really isn’t that much out there for high school kids to do, and we feel this league fills a gap that exists there for kids in their teenage years," said Mieke Prummel, another league coordinator. "They have a team at the high school, but unless you’re really good that’s not an option for everybody. This is about having fun, learning skills, and fitness, and anybody is welcome to join.

"There will be opportunities to compete once the league is underway, but we are more focussed on keeping it fun."

Right now there are enough boys and girls in every age group to field at least one Whistler team in the league, but there is still plenty of room for more.

The league, which runs from Nov. 25 to April of 2003 will include teams from Whistler, Pemberton, D’Arcy and Mount Currie.

The league is sponsored by Basketball B.C. and B.C. raised NBA star Steve Nash, who sponsors youth basketball programs in the province. According to Prummel, they are contributing jerseys to the teams, money for league costs, and help in the form of coaching and refereeing clinics.

In addition to games on the weekend, the Whistler boys will practice on Tuesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. and the girls will practice on Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Registration for the season is $60 on registration night, Oct. 15, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Whistler Secondary School foyer. After Oct. 15 the price goes up to $70.

Registration for Mount Currie, D’Arcy and Pemberton kids will take place at the same time at the Pemberton Community Centre.

For aspiring coaches, Basketball B.C. will be offering a free coaching clinic on Monday, Oct. 21 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Myrtle Philip Community School and a free officiating clinic on Thursday, Nov. 7, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The emphasis of the league is on fun and skills development, and all kids from Grades 6 to 12 are welcome to come out regardless of their ability.

For more information, contact either Mary Romanin at 604-938-1975, Michelle Flynn at 604-932-2210, Sue Daugulis at 604-932-7294, or Wendy Craveiro at 604-935-1822.