LANGLEY — Fans making the rounds at the Langley Event Centre beginning Wednesday at the B.C. Boys High School Basketball Championships will get a chance to see the province’s best teams in action at four different tiers of competition.
Yet in this, the Diamond Anniversary of the B.C.’s most tradition-laden and documented provincial championship tournament, there is so much more for fans to sink their teeth into over the event’s four-day run.
The B.C. High School Boys Basketball Association and its partners at the Langley Events Centre have put together a what amounts to an on-site tournament museum to celebrate the event’s 75th birthday.
Located in the banquet hall at the west end of the LEC’s concourse, the exhibition is sure to thrill and captivate fans from the most casual to the most discerning from Wednesday through Friday.
Enlarged team photos of every senior boys B.C. varsity champion — at every tier — from 1946 to 2019.
“We got really lucky that our friend Ken Winslade was so organized,” said Tyler Dinwoodie, the Langley Events Centre’s associate director of event services, of the former Lester Pearson Mikes and UBC Thunderbirds standout whose extensive collection of catalogued photographs and other archival material also qualifies Winslade as the caretaker of high school boys basketball in this province.
“We struggled to find a couple of teams but we got them all,” added Dinwoodie of the 160 enlarged team photos, each approximately two-feet high by three-feet wide which will be displayed atop tables throughout the banquet hall.
Paul Eberhardt, tournament chair of the BCHSBBA’s 75th anniversary committee, said serving in his capacity during the run-up to this week’s celebrations has been an experience which has re-affirmed his belief in what makes the tournament so special to so many people.
“I have literally talked to people (aged) 16 to 96,” said Eberhardt. “Hearing their memories of skipping classes at UBC to watch the tournament, or when that small town team attended the championships at the Pacific Coliseum and stepped into a huge arena for the first time… there are just so many cool stories.”
There is also a lot of memorabilia on display, like championship nets, and original warm-up jackets, including Ken Shields’ from the 1964 B.C. champion Prince Rupert Rainmakers, another from the 1982 West Vancouver Highlanders championship team coached by Brian Upson, and one worn by Eberhardt’s father Don, who won the B.C. title as part of the famed 1961 Magee Blackshirts.
“This isn’t just fun for someone who played in the tournament,” adds Dinwoodie. “If you’re a sports fan it will be so cool to just walk through, see all the displays and at the same time, see the evolution of the game.”
The museum will be open all day Wednesday through Friday.
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