This past weekend from May 24 to May 26, men’s basketball teams from throughout southern Vancouver Island, along with three basketball teams from Denmark, squared up against each other in the Denmark Challenge, a tournament that has been an annual event here since 2007.
Trevor Bligh organized this men’s basketball tournament, the Denmark Challenge. It featured teams from Bayside (Central Saanich), Duncan, Mount Tolmie, Victoria Prep, Sooke, Westshore and, yes, Denmark (Efterskolen Ved Nyborg, or EVN).
Trevor Bligh summed up the weekend: “First place was won by EVN1, Denmark’s strongest team, in a final game over Vic Prep, with a score of 58-40. It was a great weekend! The Sooke boys didn’t play well on Saturday, losing a one-point game to EVN2. EVN3 beat the Millbay Muckers in triple overtime Saturday afternoon. Sooke’s Quinn Yates and Chris Shankar played very well for the Victoria Prep team, coached by Eli Pasqualie. Special thanks to all host families who helped with billets. Special thanks to Karen and John Wilson, who made this weekend happen.”
The tournament took place at two venues, Edward Milne community school and Journey middle school.
EVN Nyborg has been coming to play in Sooke since 2007. In correspondence, Trevor Bligh wrote, “Coaches Craig Pedersen and Geoff Kotila were introduced to me by recent Sooke resident Todd Kozinka, who played basketball with Craig at SFU.”
Bligh provides more detail, “The Victoria Prep team is a select team from the Island coached by Eli and Vito Pasquale. Eli has played for Canada in the Los Angeles olympics, as well as several national championships while at the University of Victoria. This team [Victoria Prep] will travel to Edmonton, Seattle and Las Vegas this summer to play in high level tournaments. This year’s Grade 11 Quinn Yates, and Grade 12 Chris Shankar of EMCS have made this team.”
Also a noteworthy point is that, as Bligh points out, Edward Milne student who played for both the Sooke Storm and Victoria Prep, Quinn Yates, attended EVN last season. “The first and only Sooke player to do so,” writes Bligh.