The Basketball BC Metro League for youth players will now be rebranded as the Bandits Youth Basketball League. (Submitted)

The Basketball BC Metro League for youth players will now be rebranded as the Bandits Youth Basketball League. (Submitted)

Basketball BC, Fraser Valley Bandits launch partnerships

Abbotsford-based professional basketball team becomes official naming rights partner for leagues

The Fraser Valley Bandits are the new official naming rights partner of Basketball BC’s youth leagues, club championships and 3X3 development initiatives.

Formerly known as the Metro League, Basketball BC’s Langley-based U12 and U13 boys and girls competitive leagues, will now be known as the Bandits Youth Basketball League (BYBL). The league was born in the early 2000s in response to the demand for a competitive league that catered to youth in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley who had yet to enter high school programming.

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“We are excited to grow our partnership with the Bandits. Ultimately, this collaboration is built on the foundation of creating more pathways for British Columbia’s youth basketball players to play,” stated Lawrie Johns, executive director of Basketball BC.

“By aligning forces on the BYBL, club championships and future 3×3 projects, we will work toward opening doors for more youth to access the game, to develop their skills and to be exposed to current and past coaches and players from BC that have led successful amateur and professional careers.”

With two seasonal editions of the BYBL, the league has typically featured a combined 500 boys and girls playing organized and competitive basketball on weekends in the fall and spring.

“Over the past two years, Basketball BC has helped connect our team with important leaders in the community and we look forward to supporting their programs and working to add to the track record of success that they have seen with their programs,” stated Bandits vice-president Dylan Kular. “We are excited to further align our organizations and to position the BYBL, the Basketball BC Club Championships and future 3×3 events as staples in the fabric of Canada’s flourishing basketball community.”

Basketball BC’s 2021 provincial club championships will also be presented by the Fraser Valley Bandits. An annual fixture, the championships cover a variety of age groups. U13 boys and girls championships are typically hosted in the spring, while U15 and U17 championships are hosted in the summer. Historically, the club championships have hosted 40 to 50 teams from across the province as part of a platform for showcasing some of British Columbia’s top youth basketball players. Club championships have occurred at the Langley Events Centre in the past.

Further bolstering the grassroots alignment is a joint dedication toward promoting the sport of 3×3 basketball by assisting with awareness and participation efforts, such as Basketball BC’s Summer Slam 3×3 tournament, which was set to take place in Kelowna this past summer and was going to host competing boys and girls teams with divisions from U12 to U18, but was cancelled due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Future 3×3 basketball tournaments hosted by Basketball BC will be presented by Bandits, who will assist with operational and promotional efforts to spur attendance, participation and the overall exposure of 3×3 basketball events. Currently, there are 182 countries and regions that participate in 3×3 competitions across the globe, resulting in more than 430,000 players playing the sport and the rise of 3×3 basketball as the “number one urban team sport in the world,” according to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).

The sport has also recently become a regular activity in the BC Summer Games.

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As part of the naming rights partnership, and in advance of collaborating on future 3×3 events, the Bandits and Basketball BC will be releasing a “3×3 Basketball Guidebook,” which will be a free and downloadable document available for use by the public.

The guidebook will serve as a preliminary source of information that can be used by players, coaches and parents looking to learn more about the merits of 3×3 basketball, how the sport translates to 5×5 play, online resources featuring 3×3 drills and lessons, as well as testimonials from notable Canadian coaches and players.

For more information, visit basketball.bc.ca.

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