2021 All Native Basketball Tournament cancelled due to pandemic

Joshua Azizi

The 2021 All Native Basketball Tournament has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be the first time in the tournament's six decades-long history that the competition isn't going ahead.

Tournament President Peter Haugan said that the worsening state of the pandemic led the board to conclude that cancelling the tournament was the easiest thing to do.

"We had a meeting back in November there, we gave it two months to see what would happen with the pandemic, and if the health people say we could hold the tournament then we would hold it. But the pandemic got worse from there, and right now there's no light at the end of the tunnel. So that's why we cancelled it."

The cancellation also brings about financial issues for the tournament. Haugan explained that even though there's no competition this year, they still need to pay for an estimated $36,000 in basic fixed costs for the year. These costs include rent and insurance for their office space and portable court, as well as insurance for their equipment.

Haugen said he plans to appeal to sponsors to raise funds.

"Well we have major sponsors that have been helping us in the past, other than having to raise ticket prices, so I'll have to reach out to these major sponsors to see if they sponsor the tournament again even though we're not hosting it, just to get us through the next year. So we'll see how that goes with our major sponsors."

This years' tournament would have been the 62nd All Native Basketball Tournament in the competition's history. Along with the lost revenues, Haugen also lamented that this cancellation means an important annual tradition will have to go on pause.

"Well it's had 61 straight years of tradition. There will be a blank spot and everybody from about 20 years down the road, 50 years down the road is going to wonder, 'what happened that year? Why did they not have a tournament?' So it's just one of thing that's happened and we have to live with it."

Haugen added that they can't hold the tournament later in the year because basketball season ends before the summertime.

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