Unity Christian wants provincials in Chilliwack

If Unity Christian has its way, a 1A boys high school basketball provincial tournament will soon be held in Chilliwack.

Unity Christian School hosted the 1A boys high school basketball provincials Mar. 6-10 on the campus of Trinity Western University.

For 10 years, the school has wanted to host provincials. With the UC boys making three straight trips to provincials, the time was right.

A committee of former players, parents, grandparents, and teachers spent a full year planning out the event.

Their efforts paid off with a tournament that literally went off without a hitch.

“Our committee wanted to put all proceeds raised back into the event, giving us the luxury of offering a first class banquet and a spectacular coaches/referees room,” said UC vice principal Mike Campbell. “The tournament showcased some great basketball, with all four quarter-final games going down to the wire. And we had over 1,000 people attend the final.”

Teams from as far away as Dawson and Bella Bella played in the tournament.

“We do an excellent job of keeping our alumni and former parents close to Unity after graduation,” Campbell said. “When I announced that we were approved to host provincials, I immediately had a large number of them offering to help.”

So impressed were the visiting schools that they unanimously asked UC to host next year’s tournament.

B.C. Boys Basketball asks that provincial tournaments occur at university, college or major sports complexes.

That’s why UC had to host at the Langley campus of TWU.

But Campbell hopes to find some leeway to bring the tournament into Chilliwack.

“We explored hosting the championship at the Cheam Center, but quickly found that the costs were too high, and we were able to secure TWU for 25 per cent of the cost that Cheam would have been,” he said, noting similar cost  savings had the tournament been held at the University of the Fraser Valley or Columbia Bible College. “Mayor Sharon Gaetz was very supportive and helpful in trying to find a facility, but we ran out of options.”

According to Campbell, other places (Langley included) have incentive programs to help draw big sporting events.

“It is possible that we could host the event at Prospera Centre,” he surmised. “BC Boys Basketball does have access to a full size court which is installed for the 3A tournament at the Langley Events Center. It might be possible to install it in Prospera Centre, and maybe even host both the guys and the girls, bringing in 32 teams. Hopefully, at some point, the city will create an incentive program or be able to cut the rental costs on a non-profit event that brings a significant financial impact to the City of Chilliwack. This partnership seems like a win win.”

 

— UC fell short of their basketball goals at the 2012 tournament, but Nathan Vugteveen received Unity’s first ever provincial all-star award)

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