Youth basketball tourneys windfall for Port Angeles businesses

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Hundreds of fifth- through ninth-graders — accompanied by parents and coaches — descended upon Port Angeles for the Presidents Day Youth Basketball Tournament this weekend.

This annual event in Port Angeles is typically a boon for local hotels, motels and restaurants.

Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Russ Veenema said that the tournament — drawing 44 teams this year — historically has meant welcomed business for most if not all of the city’s hotels and motels during the “off” winter season.

“They all get business from these [tournaments],” Veenema said.

“And you can see it in the restaurants, too, especially the more-family-style restaurants.”

Basketball games ran most of the day Saturday and continue today with the tournament’s finals.

The games are in school gyms across the city and at the Vern Burton Memorial Community Center at 308 E. Fourth St., said Dan Estes, special events coordinator with the city’s parks and recreation department, which organizes the tournament.

Today’s games will be played from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Vern Burton gym and at the gyms of Port Angeles High School, 304 E. Park Ave.; Stevens Middle School, 1139 W. 14th St.; and Roosevelt Elementary School, 106 Monroe Road.

Kelowna, B.C., teams

This year’s 19th annual Presidents Day tournament saw fewer teams compared with last year’s, Estes said, but it did welcome the tournament’s farthest-traveling teams — five from Dr. Knox Middle School in Kelowna, B.C., an eight-hour drive away.

“They have two 50-passenger buses for their teams and parents,” Estes said.

The Kelowna teams join 25 others traveling from off the North Olympic Peninsula to participate in the tournament, including teams from Anacortes, Bellingham, Olympia and Victoria, B.C.

Rising fuel prices and other costs have caused some off-Peninsula teams to decide against attending the Port Angeles tournament this year.

Estes said organizers are always appreciative of the teams that do make the trip.

“There are always closer tournaments available, so we’re always happy when they decide to come check us out,” Estes said.

Estes echoed Veenema’s sentiment about local businesses giving positive feedback about the city’s youth basketball tournaments.

They run one per month from November to May.

He said the tournaments were developed starting 19 years ago in part to benefit Port Angeles’ hotels, motels and restaurants.

“When these [tournaments] originated, [the idea was] to bring some people to town in the off season,” Estes said.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: February 16. 2013 5:42PM
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