Sooke club ready to host Danish basketball team

Games set for Thursday and Friday

Trevor Bligh will host 18 guests this weekend – all under the age of 17.

Crazy? Perhaps.

But the coach of the Sooke Sonics boys’ basketball team will welcome the players with open arms – all for international goodwill.

ALSO READ: A league of their own

The Sooke Basketball Club hosts a high school team from Nyborg, Denmark for a set of games at Edward Milne Community School on Thursday and Friday.

The Danish team has visited B.C. every two years since 2007, and on off years makes it way to Gainsville, Fla. This year’s trip itinerary includes Sooke, Courtenay, and Vancouver.

“It’s something we get super excited about when they arrive,” Bligh said.

The relationship between Nyborg and Sooke began more than 13 years ago when Sooke resident Todd Kozinka introduced Bligh to Danish coach Craig Peterson. Both Peterson and Kozinka were teammates at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby.

The relationship blossomed last year when Bligh was a guest coach when the Danes made their trip to Florida.

“I’ve never had a coaching mentor, so the opportunity to work with Craig Peterson and (assistant coach) Geof Kotila was inspiring and awesome,” Bligh said.

Bligh brought back the skills he learned in Florida and adapted them to the Canadian game.

“It’s a whole other basketball culture. European basketball is more soccer oriented where it’s ball distribution and sharing of the ball, not so much the North American ball hog mentality,” Bligh said.

Still, the international ball games are more for player development and creating goodwill between nations.

Both Bligh and Peterson said the success of the program has helped bring the two communities together.

And it’s not just about basketball.

“They create friendships that last forever,” said Bligh, adding several players have returned to visit both Canada and Denmark over the years.

“It’s great for the players to stay with families from this area,” Peterson said.

It’s a sentiment not lost on Bligh.

SIDELINES … The Sooke Sonics play their first game against Denmark at 4 p.m. Thursday (May 16). The two teams go at it again on Friday at 5 p.m. Both games are at EMCS The Sonics played well in a recent up-Island road trip, going 3-1 against teams from Nanaimo, Courtenay and Comox. “I was really super happy with the kids,” Bligh said. “They played well.”

ALSO READ: Basketball community mourns lifetime officiant


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Some showers, high of 18 C for Tuesday

Plus a look ahead at your weekly forecast

Peninsula crews extinguish early morning boat fire in Central Saanich

Firefighters saved nearby home from further damage

Bay Street Bridge construction begins today

Point Ellice Bridge will be closed to eastbound vehicle traffic until October

Sooke’s First Nations have Iroquois links

References to the proud Iroquois race tend to make one think of… Continue reading

Rescuers finally persuade Eiffel Tower climber to come down

The official said the man was ‘under control and out of danger’ on Monday night

Meals on Wheels needs volunteers

Cooks, meal planners desperately required

Motorcycle deaths spike 50% since 2017

Riders were most likely fatally crash on the weekends compared with the rest of the week

Mother of accused charged in death of Surrey teen girl found in torched SUV

Manjit Kaur Deo charged with ‘accessory after the fact’ in 2017 death of Surrey teen

Family of B.C. pilot killed in Honduras trying to ‘piece together’ tragedy

Patrick Forseth has a number of friends in the area and was loved by everyone

Justin Trudeau credits immigration for Canada’s growing tech sector

Trudeau stressed that Canada has become a major source of talent for tech all over the world

Feds launch tourism strategy designed to boost sector 25 per cent by 2025

The fund is supposed to back experiences that show off Canada’s strengths

Mamma Mia! poised to be biggest Chemainus Theatre show ever

Plenty of buzz as Island dinner theatre schedules ABBA-fueled romp

New book from Island author details social history of the E&N railway

Along the E&N tells the story of 32 establishments from Esquimalt to Campbell River.

Most Read