The Metlakatla teams used to be board ferries like this one, to travel to the All Native Basketball Tournament (File Photo)

Ferry schedules cost an Alaskan team a spot in the All Native Basketball Tournament

Metlakatla, Alaska, used to compete in the All Native tournament every year

Metlakatla, Alaska, used to be a staple at the All Native Basketball Tournament, but recent changes to the ferry schedule have caused them to lose their spot in the famous event.

The Alaska Marine Highway System, AMHS, used to run twice a week from Ketchikan, Alaska to Prince Rupert – perfect for the teams representing the Metlakatla nation to come and go to the tournament with ease.

Metlakatla sent teams in all four divisions as well as many fans and people from their villages to come and support their teams. Although the trip was still somewhat expensive its price tag was nowhere near the exorbitant price it would be today.

The AMHS costs around $130 USD per player, so to send four teams would cost Metlakatla approximately $5,200 USD. The problem for the team is not the price of the ferry – it’s the frequency of trips. The same ferry that would make that trip twice weekly, is now making the trip only once every two weeks.

RELATED: B.C. Ferries to alter schedule for All Native Tournament

Marissa Anniskett, a member of the Metlakatla team, has been at the forefront of fundraising and organizing trips across the pond to play at the tournament, a trip that has simply become unaffordable.

“Now with AMHS cutbacks in the past years there is no way for our teams to make it over – we miss out because our teams need to qualify also. No one can take two weeks off for qualifying and then two more weeks if you qualify to make the tournament, let alone hotel costs for two weeks,” Anniskett said.

Vera James, All Native Basketball Hall-of-Famer, spent her playing days taking the ferry across and doesn’t understand where this change to the schedule comes from.

“We used to have no problems going over for All Native, they used to change the schedule and it was easily accessible for us every year,” James said.

For James’ Hall of Fame induction ceremony, the team chartered a catamaran to take them and their dance group, who were performing at the opening ceremonies, to the tournament. Even after they sold seats on the boat to other teams from Alaska the cost was still too much to bear.

“That charter cost us $30,000 Canadian, and we will never do it again,” Anniskett said.

Although James’ playing days may be behind her she knows that the younger generations of Metlakatla are missing out on experiencing the tournament she fell in love with.

“It is very frustrating. My eldest son just started attending the tournament, so now he’s got the thirst for the tournament, but now we don’t have a way to get there that won’t cost us an arm and a leg,” James said.

Although they can’t attend the tournament they love, they harbour no ill feelings towards it and just want to make it back.

“It doesn’t sour the view for the tournament, the hunger to go is still there, and people talk about wanting to go all the time,” James said.

RELATED: Bad weather delays next Prince Rupert/Haida Gwaii ferry

To report a typo, email: editor@thenorthernview.com.



Send Nick email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Fires still burning near Telegraph Creek

BC Wildfire Service assures residents of a proactive plan heading into wildfire season

Northwest entrepreneurs pitch their plans for cash prizes

ThriveNorth announces 12 finalists in this year’s business challenge

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

Stellar musicians, performers recognized at 54th Pacific Northwest Music Festival

More than 150 awards, scholarships given out to Northwest B.C. participants

Cyclist braking stigma on addiction from coast to coast

Mathew Fee aims at world record for longest distance on BMX bike while sharing his story of recovery

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

Northwest B.C. leaders divided over oil tanker ban

Senate hearings in Prince Rupert and Terrace show Bill C-48 is at a crossroads

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Man airlifted to hospital after apparent hunting incident in East Kootenay

The man was in stable condition when he was flown out of Fairmont Hot Springs to a Calgary hospital

Most Read