A decision by Corner Brook Intermediate to cut secondary boys and girls basketball teams due to limited resources has opened the door for another hoops club in the city.
The Western Wolves already held its inaugural session last Sunday, and now the Western Hawks will take to the floor of Grenfell Campus for the first time on Monday evening.
The club was organized by Stephen Leonard and well-known local coach Tom Stewart after Leonard, who coached the junior high’s Grade 9 and Grade 7 secondary teams last year, offered to do the same for the Grade 8s this year, but was denied due to the reduction of teams.
Leonard said Stewart had attempted to form a similar club a few years back with fellow coach Frank Foo, but there were ample opportunities for kids to play basketball at the time, so it was hard to get off the ground.
“He figured it would be a good opportunity to offer it now,” Leonard said.
The club will offer non-tryout, open-to-anyone programs for U16 (Grade 9-10), U14 (Grade 7-8), U12 (Grade 6), and Junior (Grades 1-5).
There will be twice-a-week sessions for the older age groups, on Monday from 5:30-6:30 p.m., and Friday 7:30-9 p.m., with the junior-aged kids getting together once a week on Saturday morning from 10-11 a.m.
All players will be registered with the Newfoundland and Labrador Basketball Association, which will allow them to take part in provincial club tournaments, as well as invitational school tournaments, if the school allows it.
However, Hawks members who play on school teams have to stay on their school teams during tournaments.
Members of the Humber Valley Basketball Club Mountaineers teams are also welcome to join for the weekly on-court sessions, but under NLBA rules, a player would have to be registered with one club or the other for the year when it comes to tournaments, not both.
All Hawks teams will play under fair play rules, meaning every player will receive the same amount of floor time.
Stewart will handle most of the coaching, though Leonard, some parents, and a few high school players will be on hand to help out.
Registration begins this Monday, with the first session beginning as soon as pen is put to paper.
The goal is never to turn anyone away, though, so interested players are welcome to register at any point, even if they live outside the city.
The plan, Leonard said, is to hold a 24-week program that would see a Christmas break, before resuming in January until late-April.