Nova Scotia

Storm delays arrival of out-of-province teams in New Waterford Coal Bowl Classic

Organizers of the New Waterford Coal Bowl Classic, a national invitational high school boys basketball tournament in Nova Scotia celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, are working on a contingency plan after a major snow storm has delayed the arrival of several teams.

“We were anticipating the arrival of our 10 teams and of course with the snow that has fallen and [is] continuing to fall, that has put a stop to that,” Aimee Romard, co-chair of the tournament, told CBC News in an interview on Sunday.

Romard said some teams are stuck in transit and others haven’t been able to leave home yet, but she says organizers are “ready for them when they do get here.”

Of the 10 teams involved in the tournament, only two are local. She said it’s not possible for the two local teams to play each other to kick off the tournament since they are in two different divisions.

Romard said two teams from Alberta who were supposed to fly to Sydney, N.S., on Sunday had their flights delayed until at least Wednesday.

A third team from Alberta is stuck in Montreal and is trying to get a train into Truro, N.S.

Storm-stayed teams

Two teams from Quebec are stuck in Truro because of the weather. Romard said she’s hoping the Quebec and Alberta teams can hop on a bus together on Monday to make it up to Cape Breton.

Romard said the other teams are from P.E.I. and New Brunswick, where road conditions are poor.

Guy Langlois is a coach from a Quebec team who is stuck in Truro. He said players are trying to make the best of the situation by getting ahead on some homework so they have more time to enjoy themselves at the tournament.

The 2023-2024 Memorial High School Marauders from Sydney Mines, N.S., are taking part in the New Waterford Coal Bowl Classic. While the basketball tournament was scheduled to start on Monday, poor weather has delayed several out-of-province teams from getting there. (Submitted by Adam MacLean)

“They bought it and said, ‘Yeah that’s a good idea coach,'” said Langlois, who is also a math teacher.

Langlois said everyone is really excited to get to New Waterford and play.

“We’re going to the tournament to build up team leadership and team spirit with the kids here and also the visit, the cultural visit. It’s a pretty nice part for us and the chance to practice English … for us it’s a big cultural event, for us it’s not just about basketball,” Langlois said.

While there has been a tradition of snow storms during the tournament — Romard said players got stuck at Breton Education Centre during a storm in 1992 —  she says it’s the first time a storm has delayed the start of the tournament.

Safety top priority, tournament will go on

“It’s definitely going to be in the memory books for sure,” she said.

Romard said the Coal Bowl will go on this year, even if it has to be an abridged version. She said it’s too important to the community and to the fans.

“Our main priority is to make sure that our participants and our fans are safe, so we’re taking all of that into consideration, but we will get this off the ground when it is safe to do so,” she said.

WATCH | Volunteers get ready for Coal Bowl Classic 40th anniversary: 

Volunteers get ready for Coal Bowl Classic 40th anniversary

The basketball tournament in Cape Breton has hosted over 1,000 games to date. A team of roughly 400 volunteers is getting things ready for the Coal Bowl Classic on Feb. 5. The CBC’s Amy MacNeil has more.

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