Big-Time Hoops Returns to Vancouver

Sport Hosting Vancouver & other local basketball leaders announce new local event. 

Former Canada basketball athlete Howard Kelsey alongside U.S. based bd Global announced today a new basketball showcase to come to Vancouver. The “Vancouver Basketball Showcase” will feature 16 NCAA Division 1 teams and will be played at a transformed 3,000-plus seat venue in the Vancouver Convention Centre in downtown Vancouver.

The tournament will host eight men’s and eight women’s basketball teams, and will feature some of the top programs in NCAA Division I hoops. 

“Vancouver has proven itself as a world-class destination for major sporting events, so we are very excited to bring the first regular-season NCAA Division 1 college basketball tournaments ever played in Canada to this extraordinary city,” said Brooks Downing, President and CEO of bd Global. “Given the destination, combined with our unique site at the Vancouver Convention Centre, this annual event will be very successful for years to come.”

There are no teams confirmed at the moment to play in the tournament but Downing affirmed that an emphasis will be placed on programs with a Canadian contingent.  

“The one thing we quickly learned about Canada is that it’s like one big state,” explains Downing. “We saw it with the exhibition game when Toronto (Raptors) came here and played this past fall. Great crowd, great attendance. It’s (Raptors) embraced as Canada’s team. We want this to be Canada’s event.”

Due to the games being played in the NCAA regular season play, UBC who play in the CIS would not be able to take part, while Simon Fraser University, who play in NCAA Division 2 also would not be participating. 

“It’s difficult because of what the level they (UBC/SFU) play at, not Division 1,” said Downing. “From the teams desires, they want to keep with the Division 1 level because their RPI is heavily used come postseason play.” 

Downing explains that despite the local university teams not being in the showcase, that it doesn’t mean that they won’t be somehow involved.

“We want to embrace them. We got some ideas that we want to talk to them about. Don’t want to share just yet, because we want to get their feedback, and make sure they’re comfortable with them. But we’d like to get them included in some shape or form.”

Local Vancouver Basketball entrepreneur, Mark Starkey, attended the event with much excitement. “There’s a wonderful basketball community here in Vancouver and this event joins dozens of other local organizers looking to push limits and build the game we love here in the 604. It opens additional doors for events like the West Coast Basketball Classic at the Olympic Oval to now build and partner with the NCAA community as well as giving local basketball fans the opportunity to attend high-level competition multiple times a year here in Vancouver…we couldn’t be more excited,” said Starkey. 

Michelle Collens, manager of Sport Hosting Vancouver, see’s this as a giant step for sporting events in Vancouver.

“Today’s announcement is the start of another exciting chapter for playing host to great sports events in Vancouver,” said Collens. “The Vancouver Basketball Showcase will strengthen Vancouver’s reputation as a world class city for major events.”

The inaugural event will be held over the American Thanksgiving holiday week starting in 2017 with a five-year commitment from the organizers. The participating schools will be announced at a later date. Organizers expect part if not all of the event to be televised in both the U.S. and Canada.