The Fraser Valley Bandits announced a partnership with the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation Council (I·SPARC).
They have also partnered with Canada Basketball and Basketball BC to launch the inaugural BC Basketball Festival, a youth and adult basketball event that will take place this summer between June 13 to June 19 at Langley Events Centre (LEC).
The festival will feature a variety of activities for athletes, fans and teams to enjoy, including multiple divisions of boys and girls, as well as adult basketball competition, 3×3 and wheelchair basketball workshops and more. Two key additional fixtures adding to the festival experience are a partnership between the Bandits and I·SPARC, as well as the Basketball BC Provincial Club Championships for female and male youth ages 14 to 17. Further adding to the tournament atmosphere is the Junior Bandits Classic for boys and girls within the age categories of under-10 to under-13. More details regarding the collaboration between the Bandits and I·SPARC, as well as registration details regarding Club Championships and the Junior Bandits Classic are expected to be announced later this spring.
The multi-day experience will draw teams and fans from across the province for one of the largest basketball events of the summer, which will be punctuated by a Bandits home game on Saturday, June 18 at 5 p.m. PT versus the Scarborough Shooting Stars.
“Thank you to all of the partners for creating this opportunity to showcase the power of participation. Sport literally saves lives and lifts communities,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport for the Province of British Columbia. “Every time we make space for athletes to achieve their dreams, we are empowering them to thrive.”
Players, teams and coaches interested in learning more about the BC Basketball Festival are encouraged to register their interest by filling out THIS link in order to receive communications regarding the event. Further details can be found at https://www.thebandits.ca/festival.
“It is an honour to align with a group of like-minded partners who are focused on creating an annual festival that not only celebrates the past, present and future of basketball in British Columbia, but also champions core values of inclusion, accessibility and competition,” said Bandits President Dylan Kular. “We are excited to welcome teams, clubs and coaches from across the province to our home at LEC and to collaborate with our supporting partners to create a memorable event that we can build on in future years.”
All teams who register will receive tickets to the June 18 game as part of their registration package. A special pre-game tribute will be made prior to tip-off to honour the career of three-time BC provincial champion (Kitsilano Secondary) and Canada Basketball mainstay Levon Kendall, who retired from professional play following the 2021 Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) season. Kendall’s No. 14 jersey will be retired in celebration of a national team career that began in 2004 and culminated in 2016. A long-time forward for the red and white, Kendall’s 12-year national team tenure saw the former Pittsburgh Panther play more than 120 games across more than 20 countries throughout five different continents as a member of Team Canada. The 6-foot-10 forward capped off an illustrious playing career by suiting up for the Bandits in 2019 and 2021. Kendall scored seven points and grabbed five rebounds in 11 minutes off the bench in his final professional game against the Niagara River Lions on Aug. 20, 2021 in an 84-82 semifinal loss at CEBL Championship Weekend.
“The BC Basketball Festival will be a tremendous opportunity for fans of all ages to get back on the court and enjoy the game we all love,” said Michael Bartlett, President and CEO of Canada Basketball. “British Columbia has a rich basketball history and Levon is on a long list of players from the province who have made a significant contribution to our national team programs over the years. On behalf of Canada Basketball, I would like to extend my appreciation to the years Levon spent proudly representing Canada and wish him all the best in the next stage of his career.”
In addition to uniting BC’s basketball community, the goal of the festival is to spotlight the rising popularity of the sport of 3×3 basketball, as well as the importance of developing coaches and officials. Last summer, Basketball BC and the Bandits aligned to host the Summer Slam 3×3 tournament for under-13, under-15 and under-18 boys and girls teams, as well as an adult division. The BC Basketball Festival builds upon the precedent set by the Summer Slam, which hosted more than 80 teams in 2021.
Full and partial season ticket packages for the Bandits’ fourth CEBL season are currently on sale at thebandits.ca/tickets. Fans are kindly asked to call (604) 866-0529 or email email@example.com for any questions or ticket related inquiries. Fans can also fill out this form to register their interest for tickets and to arrange to be contacted directly by a team representative.
Fraser Valley opens its season on the road on Wednesday, May 25 at 4:30 p.m. PT against the Ottawa BlackJacks. Following a three-game road swing to open the year, the Bandits will make their debut at LEC against the Saskatchewan Rattlers on Saturday, June 4 at 2 p.m. PT. All CEBL regular season games will be livestreamed on the free CBC Gem streaming service, cbcsports.ca, the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices and CEBL+. Head to thebandits.ca for more information.