It’s not every day the EMCS boys basketball Wolverines get to face an exotic group of players, which is why they were stoked last week to take to the court with three boys teams and one girls team — all of whom travelled from the far reaches of Europe from Nyborg, Denmark just to compete here in Sooke for three days.
You could say the Edward Milne community school gym became a collision of worlds, as the game quickly took off in the Wolverines’ favour. A little here, and little there though, and the Danish group kept coming back — no doubt keeping the Wolves on their toes the entire time.
Running into its eighth year, the program is spearheaded by Edward Milne community school’s basketball coach Trevor Bligh; he says the team coming here every two years to compete with our local teams is not only a great clash of cultures, but it’s just good basketball.
“Props to these guys, I’ve never seen them lose a game while they’re here against guys their own age. It’s pretty darn awesome,” Bligh said.
Funny enough, the Danish team’s initial competition schedule largely revolves around Vancouver, but Bligh says they liked it so much here in Sooke that they mostly want to come back here and play.
“This is the fifth time in eight years they came here, they enjoy it so much,” he said, adding that the team gets a holiday every year and one year they come to Vancouver Island,; the other is Florida. Nothing beats the hospitality in Sooke though, he said.
“We’re pretty close-knit, it’s a small community, I got families taking in seven or eight people for three days and feeding them, it’s great,” he said.
And these guys eat, Bligh added – after all, these weren’t just kids playing in a school gym; this is some of the best sterner stuff the Danish senior boys basketball community has to offer.
Behind the Danish team is Craig Peterson; a Canadian coach who went to Vancouver, graduated from SFU and then departed for Denmark to play professional basketball — and just as it happens, he liked it so much that he continued living there.
“I’ve been living in Denmark for 26 years. My parents are both in Victoria, so I spent a lot of time there as a kid,” Peterson said, adding that the success of the program has really helped bring the two communities closer together. “It’s great for the players to stay with the families from this area.”