Preparations underway to host All-Native tourney

By Sam Laskaris, September 15, 2011

Ahousaht hosted Junior All Native Basketball participants in 2009, and Homiss Wolves coach Bruce Lucas now prepares to host in 2012.

Photo by Debora Steel

Port Alberni — 

Bruce Lucas' life is about to get a lot busier.
Lucas is the coach of the Homiss Wolves, a boys' squad that captured the BC Junior All Native Basketball Championship crown in Penticton this past March.
The Wolves are expected to start workouts for the coming season in October.
Besides coaching the team that will try to defend its provincial title, Lucas will also serve as the tournament director for the 2012 B.C. tournament, scheduled for March 18 to 23 in Port Alberni.
"It's going to be a lot of hard work," he said. "Coaching alone is a lot of hard work."
Overseeing the entire tournament will leave Lucas with little to no spare time.
"It's always worth it in the end, especially with a tournament like the Junior All Natives," he said. "I've made so many friends there over the years."
Though the 2011 provincials were held in Penticton, Lucas said he offered his share of assistance to organizers of that event. He helped with the tournament draw, scheduling of gyms and various other set-up necessities.
"I helped out quite a lot with that tournament," he said. "They were calling me on a daily basis."
The Penticton event featured 37 clubs, 20 in the boys' category and 17 in the girls' division.
"It's still a lot of teams, but low for this tournament," Lucas said. He plans to reach out to more teams.
Lucas wants to spread the word of the 2012 championships across the province in the coming months. He's hoping that will help to attract about 50 squads for the Port Alberni event.
The exact number of competing clubs will not be known for some time.
"It will be in February and in the beginning parts of March when they will be entering," Lucas said.
Matches will be held at three local facilities. the Alberni District Secondary School, Athletic Hall and Maht Mahs Gym.
Lucas said he's hoping to add a cultural component to next year's tournament, something that has not been done in previous editions of the event.

During some breaks from the on-court action, the plan is to have some Aboriginal singers and dancers showcase their talents.
Lucas is also hoping to have as many tournament participants stick around Port Alberni as long as possible. He said teams traditionally leave the provincial tournament as soon as they have been eliminated from play.
"We're going to try and keep them around for another day or two," he said, adding he'll be working with Port Alberni officials and local businesses to offer out-of-town participants various enticing packages of things to do and see while here.
Lucas is confident the Wolves will once again fare well at the provincial tournament. He realizes though that since his squad is the defending champion, it will be a target for all opponents.
"I think we'll have a good shot at it again," he said. "But I know everyone will be gunning for us."
The Wolves' roster will include just two starters from this year's championship squad, point guard Darian Vandermerwe and power forward Wayne Jules.