A returnee from 2018, the Edmonton Stormhawks will be back at it at Bballnationals this year. Started back in 2016, they’ve grown from just two teams to nine in a short period of time.
“We’ve grown by leaps and bounds and we’re looking forward to coming back to nationals,” said CEO and founder, Aaron Johnson. “We had a lot of fun last year and it was a great experience.”
The Stormhawks will have two teams competing, one in the U14 and another in the U16 division. Johnson said it was a no-brainer to send teams back to Bballnationals once again, not only for the basketball but for the overall experience for his players.
“It was an amazing tournament. The level of competition was great. [. . .] We just loved the overall experience. We came out to Langley and went to see all the tourist spots in Vancouver. We went to White Rock, the Capilano Suspension bridge. For the kids that we had, a lot of them had never experienced anything outside the province. It was all around a great tournament.”
Another big thing for Johnson and the Stormhawks was the exposure kids get playing against solid club competition from across the country.
“For them to get out and be able to play teams from Ontario, BC, developmentally that’s a good thing for them,” he said. “But also seeing where the club scene is heading and seeing what they’re a part of, builds them up as well. I think that’s a big thing, being able to network with these other groups and play against teams from across the country. It’s a fantastic thing for club basketball.”
It’s a busy summer for the team, with the Stormhawks also travelling to Middlesbrough, England. However, Bballnationals is a big part of their schedule for the good it does for club basketball.
“Let’s face it, club is overtaking provincial programs” said Johnson. “There’s far more kids playing club ball at all levels including the higher levels. They’re outpacing provincial programs, the opportunities it seems are a lot better for club programs.
I think having that sort of unifying tournament at the end of the year it just kind of validates club ball in the country and I think people need to take it more seriously and realize how much value club ball has, where we haven’t had that much recognition with the provincial programs. But it’s an unstoppable force it’s already overtaking provincial programs.”
Spots are still available for Bballnationals in both the Girls and Boys tournament. Registration closes on July 15th. Visit their website to learn more.
Written by: Nick Bondi