At a media announcement last week ( see photo) Edmonton is well on its way to establishing itself as the Centre of Excellence for basketball in Canada with the news that the city will host a three-game series in late June 2014 between Canada’s National Women’s Basketball Team and Brazil’s national team. Brazil is the seventh-ranked team in the world and Canada is ninth.
“This is an exciting opportunity for Edmontonians to see some of the world’s best women’s basketball players right here in our own community,” says Mayor Don Iveson. “Edmonton is quickly becoming a leading host city in Canada for the development of sporting excellence with soccer, triathlon, athletics (track and field) and now we are expanding our presence on the basketball court. This will certainly be the “summer of basketball” in our community.”
The three-game series, being billed as the First Annual Edmonton Grads International Classic, will be played at the Saville Community Sports Centre on June 26, 27 and 28, 2014. The event will be the first time Edmontonians will see the national team in competition since they relocated to the city last spring. Tip-off will be at 7 p.m. each evening and tickets are on sale at basketballalberta.ca.
“It is always special when our national team is able to compete in front of a Canadian audience and this three-game series against Brazil will be no different,” says Michele O’Keefe Executive Director of Canada Basketball. “Edmonton has shown a very warm welcome to our team so we are looking forward to seeing the bleachers full to take advantage of our home-court.”
The Edmonton Grads International Classic is named in honour of the women’s basketball team who rose to fame en route to setting a North American record with the best winning percentage (96.2 per cent) of all time. The team won 502 of 522 official games and also claimed the first women's world basketball title in 1924.
Hot on the heels of the Edmonton Grads International Classic announcement, it was also announced that Edmonton will host the Canada Basketball 15U and 17U National Championships for both boys and girls. As well, the city will also welcome the 16U Western Canadian Championships. All competitions will take place at the Saville Centre from July 25 to 30, 2014.
“These events will bring players, coaches and fans from 51 teams across the country to Edmonton in some exciting competition,” says Paul Sir, Executive Director of Basketball Alberta. “Edmonton has made a strong commitment to advancing basketball in our country and these tournaments really demonstrate that commitment to excellence and supporting the development of Canada’s basketball future. We will continue to work with the City and Canada Basketball to bring these opportunities to Edmonton.”