The Prince George basketball community rose to the occasion earlier this summer and have surpassed a major milestone.
The widely popular Summer Hoops Classic, headed by UNBC men's basketball assistant head coach Nav Parmar, raised $18,000 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, the most ever raised by a single tournament in its five-year history.
According to Parmar, this brings the grand total to over $68,000 and this year's mark went above and beyond his initial fundraising goal of $15,000.
The annual three-on-three event brings high school ballers together for the cause and 2019 saw a record-number 24 teams hit the hardwood at Duchess Park Secondary School (DPSS).
“You see the passion from the players to give back to the community just as much as the organizers every single year,” said Parmar. “So, I can’t be more proud of every single athlete in here because I see how driven they are to help out the cause and try to give back as much as possible. It’s humbling to give back to my own community.”
The Prince George Summer Hoops Classic has been dedicated each year to Parmar's uncle Surinder Mann who passed away in 2014 because of a stroke, which is why the yearly fundraising goes towards the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Parmar's cousin, Dr. Nav Mann of Mann Dental in the Victoria Medical Building, is thrilled to be part of the tournament each and every year in memory of his father.
"When my dad passed, Nav's ideas really all came together," said Dr. Mann to PrinceGeorgeMatters. "He was really close with my dad, and so it really sparked that vision to remember my dad in this way, to honour his memory in this way, and to support that cause, in particular, was a huge boost. Heart disease and stroke have touched almost every family [in Canada] in some way and it just made a lot of sense to remember him in this way."
Mann Dental is the title sponsor of the basketball tournament, consisting of three divisions for girls and senior and junior boys, and Dr. Mann said he's proud to see its legacy move on through the kids that participate.
"It's had a great impact on the community and on the basketball community, and a lot of kids are going to have fond memories of the event," he explained. "We'll continue to be involved as long as Nav continues to have the commitment and the energy to organize the event [...] you know, every year, he tries to reimagine and find different ways that are going to enhance the appeal of the tournament. A broader reach, a bigger audience; one time, his idea was to have someone come in on a parachute to an outdoor barbecue. He's always thinking of new ideas and, of course, I'm always on board with that."
The 2020 installment of the Summer Hoops Classic is in the works with a date being determined.
It was a tough few days prior to the tournament, but inspiring words from a fallen family member carried the 5th Prince George Summer Hoops Classic onto the court, finishing with style & mutual community respect 🏀🌲 | https://t.co/FGldEbz8si #CityOfPG #3on3 @PGMatters pic.twitter.com/eD8pxilxQn— Kyle Balzer (@KyleBalzer) June 2, 2019