Ottawa's professional basketball team the BlackJacks wants the city’s youth to get excited about the game of basketball, so they’re teaming up with the city to host a six-week program to get boys and girls moving on the court.
On Thursday, the Blackjacks and city announced the launch of free community basketball clinics with players from Ottawa’s basketball team and its coaches.
The clinics will be hosted during a six-week program that is aimed at developing the game of basketball in Ottawa by providing pre-registered boys and girls from Alexander and Michele Heights Community Centres with the chance to learn from, and be inspired by, Ottawa’s professional basketball team, in an including and fun environment.
“As the local professional basketball team, the BlackJacks have an obligation to not only grow the game of basketball in our nation’s capital, but to also reach out to boys and girls across Ottawa sharing the life opportunities that come with active participation,” Michael Cvitkovic, president of the Ottawa BlackJacks Basketball Club. “We are happy to finally meet our community in-person and we can’t wait to unveil the other initiatives we’ve been working on. As vaccination rates increase, we will be able to host more events throughout the City.”
The curriculum will focus on shooting, ball handling and defence.
Sessions will take place outdoors while operating under current provincial health guidelines.
“Partnering with the Ottawa BlackJacks allows us to break down barriers and make the sport more accessible in communities that will truly benefit from enhanced access to sports programs,” Mayor Jim Watson said in a statement. “In light of the challenges caused by the pandemic, these clinics are sure to be a bright spot for kids in our community this summer.”
Additional community clinic will become available when pandemic restrictions are lifted.
The BlackJacks roster and coaching staff including homegrown athletes and coaches, like the University of Ottawa player and BlackJacks guard Johnny Berhanesmekel, Carleton Ravens guard Alain Louis and Gee-Gees Hall of Famer and BlackJacks assistant coach Fabienne Blizzard.
Start dates are to be determined. CityNews will update as the information becomes available.
Clinics started on Sunday and the city is hosting one for a week until August 1.
There are 15 spots available and registration is managed by the city.