Pelham opens training spots for travel basketball players
The Pelham Panthers Basketball Association has some good news for travel players in Niagara.
The association, which runs out of the Pelham Community Centre, is running a 10-week fall training program launching Monday, Sept. 14. The training will consist of two one-hour sessions per week and the cost is $250. If the program has to be halted because of changing COVID-19 conditions, refunds will be offered of $10 for each cancelled session.
“It is available to all Niagara players who play travel basketball in the past or who are looking to try out for a travel basketball team,” Panthers president and coach Brian Bleich said.
The program is meant for male and female travel players ranging in age from novice (Grades 3 and 4) to Grade 12.
“In the younger groups, if parents think their kids want to try out for a travel team and they think they can do the training program, they are welcome to sign up for it,” he said.
More than 300 kids have already registered for the program and there is room for about 60 more athletes.
The COVID-19 protocols for training have changed since Pelham ran its summer program. More people are now allowed in the gym and athletes can now work with a partner.
“We can go up to 24 (athletes) in our full double gym but in the older groups, we are going to cap them at 12-16 and then maybe 16-18 for the younger kids,” Bleich said. “We can actually add a lot more but we can’t handle that many people coming in and out that fast.”
COVID protocols are the same as for the summer sessions. Athletes arriving at the Pelham community centre are met at the main doors by Town of Pelham staffers and have their temperature checked and asked screening questions.
Pelham basketball has to submit players rosters to the town 24 hours prior to the scheduled workout and players arrive 15 minutes prior to the practice session. Once players enter the facility, they are directed to individual seating areas two metres apart. Each player has his/her own seat, two metres apart where they get ready and placed their bags and shoes under the chair. There are two seating areas set up to allow the disinfecting of all the chairs at the end of each session. Players exit through a side door.
No spectators are allowed.
Like other sporting groups, Pelham basketball signed a five-year agreement with the Town of Pelham in 2017 and that agreement has proven to be a great decision.
“We all have user group commitments and it has been great because it gives us the right of first refusal here,” Bleich said. “Right now, we are the only group in the gym except for the day care program during the day.”
To register for the training program, click on the ad at the top of the story.
The Ontario Basketball travel season is tentatively scheduled to start Jan. 9.
“Pelham plans to have boys and girls travel programs for all ages from novice right up to under-19 this year,” Bleich said. “We will announce the registrations for our travel programs most likely in October and tryouts would start in late November.”
The above, of course, depends on the course of the pandemic.
“If it starts going south, we will be shutting down.”
What happens with high school basketball will also be factored into any decisions, said Bleich, who coaches the E.L. Crossley senior boys team.
The Panthers will hold registration for house league players in October with hopes of beginning play in January.
“We are looking to fun a full house league program and we hoping to start once the school boards make a decision on the school permits,” he said. “It is also for the kids safety.”