Edmonton has been a major training hub for senior women's national team and now another national squad calls the city home.
Canada Basketball's 3x3men's national team is establishing its training centre in the Edmonton Expo Centre which sits virtually empty. In fact, there’s just one custom court currently set up in a corner of one of the centre’s vacant halls.
“We look at this as a big vacant space and an opportunity,” said Paul Sir,the managing directorfor Canada Basketball's 3x3 program, who added the team needed to find a permanent training centre because gym space has become hard to find during the pandemic.
“That’s what this is all about. To give them a centre that’s theirs...because gym space is not just at a premium. It’s pretty much nonexistent,” Sir told CTV News.
Canada’s top ranked 3x3 basketball team features local content, including Edmonton products Steve Sir and Jordan Baker, along with Jordan Jensen-Whyte and Kyle Landry of Calgary.
The Alberta squad is Canada’s best hope in 3x3 basketball which is expected to make its Olympic debut next year.
The team will try to win one of just three remaining spots to advance to the Summer Games at the Olympic qualifying trials next May in Austria.
The original event was cancelled due to the pandemic this year, so players hope they’re not training for nothing.
“I think in order to train properly, and have the right mindset throughout all of this, you have to believe this is going to happen,” said Sir.
Organizers plan to fill the Expo Centre with more courts and teams as the 3x3 team chases Olympic glory in 2021.
“As this is an Olympic sport next year, and as it continues to grow around the world, this is going to be come more common,” added Sir.