Take Richmond’s Dolphin Classic atmosphere into a world class facility and that was the vibe of the inaugural Battle of the Badges Basketball Tournament.
The three-day event wrapped up on Sunday at the Richmond Olympic Oval and certainly met the organizers’ expectations and then some. A combined 12 teams competed in the Open and Masters Divisions, including from five different U.S. states, along with Trinidad and Tobago.
All players work in law enforcement, as firefighters or in the military and it was evident many had played at the collegiate level.
The Canadian event was created by the Anderson family and served as a fundraiser for the Duncan Anderson Memorial Scholarship Fund — the longtime Delta Pacers basketball coach who spent much of his life making a difference with the basketball programs at the schools he worked at as a teacher.
His eldest son and DSS grad John is a youth corrections officer who not only organized the tournament but helped the Lower Mainland-based Axes and Arms capture the over 40s Masters Division with a win against the Atlanta-based Dekalb Knights.
“I’m part of this Battle of the Badges Facebook group and just threw it out there to see if anyone wanted to come,” explained John. “We have also developed a lot of connections over the last 10 years by travelling to tournaments. We met a lot of American teams and developed friendships.”
John leaned heavily on the help of his brother James and sisters Kathleen and Sarah to pull it off. He was also very grateful for the work of Richmond Sport Hosting as well.
“They really helped us get our feet on the ground. They hooked us up with volunteers and they were a big help. It was like a Dolphin Park atmosphere (including a beer garden and in-game announcer). A shout out to (Dolphin founders) Bira (Bindra) and Bruce (Watson) for that.”
Anderson says the tournament will be back in 2020 and likely be held every other year beyond that so it doesn’t coincide with the World Police and Fire Games. The hope is the tournament proceeds will allow multiple scholarships to be awarded to high school graduates.
At the buzzer…
Former Delta Pacer star Navi Sekhon still showed he can be lethal from three-three-point range, earning MVP honours for Axes and Arms in the Masters title game. He is a Burnaby firefighter.