It appears as though the provincial AA high school basketball championships won't be returning to Kamloops in 2014.
Brian Peters, the co-director of the 32-team event, said Tuesday that it is "almost guaranteed" that March's championships will be the last AA tournament to which Kamloops will play host. This year's event is scheduled to run March 6-9 at the Tournament Capital Centre and TRU Gym.
It will be the 15th straight year that Kamloops has been home to the championships.
For Peters, who, like a lot of the tournament's volunteers, has been around since Day 1, it's a little bittersweet.
"I think it's time," said Peters, a retired teacher and coach. "Some of the people have been doing it for 15 years, and in truth, I think a few are still around because they didn't want to see it go away."
The B.C. High School Boys Basketball Association voted to move to four tiers next season - creating a AAAA tier to go along with the traditional AAA, AA and A tiers. B.C. girls basketball will remain with just three tiers.
Along with the move to four tiers, Peters said the BCHSBBA wants to "host all the (boys) tournaments in one place," likely at the Langley Events Centre or the Richmond Oval.
Kerry Taylor, president of the BCHSBBA, confirmed that the plan was to consolidate the tournaments, possibly into two separate events.
"Our objective is to hold it at a similar venue and create a similar experience to the AAA (boys) tournament" that is held each March at Vancouver's PNE Agrodome, he said.
The provincial girls tournaments also could be consolidated, Peters said.
The move to four tiers is still subject to approval from B.C. School Sports, but Peters expects that it will pass easily. Once it happens, Kamloops would have to re-apply for tournaments, which Peters said is unlikely to happen.
Kamloops first played host to AA girls provincials in 1993, with the Westsyde Whundas emerging triumphant. After it bounced around the province for a few years, the girls tournament returned to Kamloops in 1998.
That year, the events were split between Westsyde Secondary and the UCC Gym, but moved to Riverside Coliseum in 1999, when the boys tournament came to town. The show moved up to the TCC in 2008, and has been there since.
Throughout the years, the tournament has become known as a well-oiled machine with a fantastic volunteer base.
"We've had a lot of good people for years," Peters said. "We're hoping to make this last (tournament) really good."
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