Alberta and BC clash at Crescent Point Regional Field House Nov 17-18.
The Crescent Point Regional Field House in Aldersyde is the venue for the Netball Western Championships as Alberta and B.C. tango in the U16 and U18 divisions this weekend.
“Every year B.C. and Alberta play off in the Canadian Western Championship,” said Netball Alberta head coach Sammantha Elsom, an Okotokian. “It’s usually our provincial teams, U16 and U18, last year we went off to B.C. and Alberta took the U16 category and lost out in the U18 category, unfortunately.”
As it was Alberta’s turn to host this year, there was no place quite like Big Rock Country to put on the event, both from a demographic and venue perspective.
“This year it’s our turn to host. Normally we would host this in Calgary, but we decided that we like the look of the field house,” Elsom said. “So we’re giving that venue a try to bring netball down to the local community because we know there are a lot of ex-pats here, myself included.
“It’s nice to bring netball down to the community and bring another sport to the field house.”
Netball’s roots date back to those of basketball and James Naismith, it’s been around since approximately 1894, Elsom said.
It developed into a popular activity across the British Commonwealth, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica and South Africa. Even Canada has an established program with a national team.
“It’s been described to me as a cross between ultimate Frisbee and handball, but I know it as netball,” Elsom said. “It’s like basketball without the dribbling, we have different zones throughout the court so not everybody can go everywhere, it’s an invasion game, pass and move and everyone is
utilized on the court.”
There will be a Foothills connection to both Alberta squads. DeWinton’s Eila Ortt, a student at Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School, will lineup for the U16 squad while fellow DeWintonite Katie McLean will be in action for the U18s.
The action gets underway on Nov. 17 with the U16 team taking to the floor at 9:15 a.m. followed by the U18s. Both categories will play three games of round-robin each with B.C. culminating with the finale on Nov. 18, also at 9:15 a.m.
The Saturday action will include a junior exhibition game featuring players from local schools who attend the Netball Alberta league and training sessions, ranging in age from 11 to 14. There is also an exhibition contest for open provincial players and U23 provincial players scheduled for Sunday.