The 2016 Canadian Native Fastball Championships are well underway in the City. It’s a weekend jam-packed with players visiting from across the country.
One of the tournament organizers, Chad Ghostkeeper, says the event is putting Prince George’s name high on the list of successful sporting events. “We’ve hosted this maybe 10 years ago, but back then, there were maybe 30 or 35 teams, so it’s doubled, and it’s big for Prince George.”
More than 1,500 players are competing this weekend, coming from all parts of the country, including as far as Nova Scotia. Josh Montnaa is playing out of Regina and he says Prince George is very much alive when it comes to sport. “Where I’m from, it’s basically dying and then tournaments like this just fire people up and get them going, so once you get here and see all the families and communities, it just makes you want to keep going.”
It’s especially impactful for the volunteers who know from past sporting events, that Prince George is willing to lend a hand. Volunteer Coordinator, Gwen Budskin, says the event attracts even visitors to help out. “We have volunteers who come in from Alberta and Saskatchewan who have just said hey you know what, I’ve got some time between games they want to be a part of this event.”
Hundreds of games are set for a weekend filled with fastball action, but win or lose, Budskin says the celebration of it all means so much more. “It’s not only competitive, there’s a lot of friendship, a lot of kinship, a lot of fun in sport, and cultural pieces too cause there’s many indigenous people from different backgrounds that are here.”
Now Ghostkeeper says the legacy continues as Prince George brings an entire nation to its doorstep to host another world class event. “There are a few of us that are known as fastball players cause we’re from here, there’s a lot of good ball players that come out of here, but to bring the event to our hometown is great.”