A Recreational Basketball League is about to begin play in Hay River.
The action will start on Jan. 13.
The once-a-week league has been organized by Finno Celestin, the Hay River co-ordinator for Basketball NWT and Alex Famorcan.
Both stressed that it will be a fun league.
“You come here to play basketball and have fun,” said Famorcan.
One other goal will be to create camaraderie among the players, and help them to get to know each other.
“So after one or two sessions, we’re going to mix them up to make teams balanced,” Famorcan said, explaining there will not be a group of friends playing against another group of friends.
The league will aim to have good competition, said Celestin. “But the first part is to have fun.”
Both organizers coach U-15 and U-19 basketball teams at Diamond Jenness Secondary School.
Celestin explained one of the reasons for the new league is to offer a place to play for those who have recently graduated high school.
“So those 19 and 20 year olds are often asking me, ‘Hey, are you going to do a rec basketball league?'” he noted. “And we finally came together to organize it this year.”
The league will be for players 16 years of age and over, meaning some high school students will be participating.
Famorcan said some of his 40-something friends in the Filipino community also plan to play, noting that basketball is a very popular sport in the Philippines.
The games will take place at the Diamond Jenness gym from 5 p.m to 7 p.m. each Sunday for 20 sessions until the end of May.
The league held a registration session before Christmas.
“As of now, we have about 15 people,” said Celestin on Jan. 4, noting a couple of other registrations are pending.
There will be another registration session from 10 a.m. to noon on Jan. 12 at the Rec Centre.
When registering, players will have to pay a $60 fee, which will help cover things like rental costs and insurance.
When all is said and done, Celestin is expecting 20 to 25 players, which would be enough to create four teams.
“We can run two games every week,” he noted.
Celestin said that, as of Jan. 4, all registered players are male, but the league will also welcome female players.
In keeping with the fun aspect of the league, Famorcan noted there will be no referees for the games, and the players themselves will make calls.
Celestin hopes the new rec basketball league will promote itself.
Players will talk to their friends about it, he said. “Eventually it’s going to grow, I think.”