Sault Ste. Marie, ON (October 4, 2018) – Sault Ste. Marie is hosting a pair of major basketball tournaments. The community netted the 2019 and 2020 Ontario Basketball Association (OBA) Under-17 Championships. Expected to attract between 35 and 50 teams from across the province each year, the events are being hosted by the Steel City Slam Basketball Club.
“Having these two tournaments in Sault Ste. Marie provides a wonderful opportunity for our players to compete in front of their family and friends,” said Club President Terry Schildroth. “Hosting the events in back-to-back years also allows local fans to watch top-level talent from around Ontario.”
These comments were echoed by Host Committee Chair Jeff Giovanatti, who also coaches the Steel City Slam Basketball Club. “We’re excited to be bringing the championships to our great community,” he said. “We look forward to continuing to grow the sport of basketball in the Sault and surrounding area.”
The 2019 OBA Championship is taking place May 31 to June 2, while the 2020 tournament is happening May 29 to 31. In total, the events are expected to generate up to 9,000 visitor days, which would inject more than $1.3 million of direct visitor spending into the local economy. With this type of benefit, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, a division of the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation, worked with members of the Steel City Slam Basketball Club to bid on the tournaments.
“In our visitor-attraction efforts, we’re always looking to secure large-scale events for our community,” said Alana Kenopic, Manager of Sports Tourism & Special Events for Tourism Sault Ste. Marie. “The 2019 and 2020 OBA Championships will generate a major economic impact for the local economy, and it also provides us with an opportunity to promote area attractions to thousands of visitors. I thank the Steel City Slam Basketball Club members, along with the Ontario Basketball Association and all of our local partners, for making this possible.”
For tournament games, a number of venues will be used, including the new or renovated gym facilities at Sault College, Superior Heights Collegiate & Vocational School, Korah Collegiate High School, St. Mary’s College and Boreal French Immersion Public School (the former Alexander Henry High School). Having this modern infrastructure was one of the many reasons the brass at OBA decided to bring the events to Sault Ste. Marie.
“The Ontario Basketball Championships coming to Sault Ste. Marie will be an experience that will stick with these Under-17 boy’s teams for the rest of their lives,” said Jason Jansson, OBA’s Executive Director. “We’re thrilled we could return to the Sault for 2019 and 2020 after the community’s successful hosting in 2012 and 2013. The level of play will not disappoint local fans of our game, and we encourage citizens from Sault Ste. Marie and the surrounding areas to come out and engage with the OBA and watch some quality basketball.”
Executives with the Steel City Slam Basketball Club are currently looking for volunteers to help with planning and facilitating the 2019 and 2020 events. To get involved, please contact [email protected].
To learn more about the club, visit http://www.steelcityslam.ca.
For further details on the OBA, go to http://www.basketball.on.ca.