Totem Spirit candidates Luchia Bernar (Dance team), left, Jenna Tardiff (Cheer team), Lachlan Duncan (Senior band), Jordan Higgins (Physics 12) and Gracie Mitchell (Social Justice) get into the spirit of Totem 63. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Totem Spirit candidates Luchia Bernar (Dance team), left, Jenna Tardiff (Cheer team), Lachlan Duncan (Senior band), Jordan Higgins (Physics 12) and Gracie Mitchell (Social Justice) get into the spirit of Totem 63. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Anticipation rising for Totem 63 in the Alberni Valley

Longest-running high school tournament in British Columbia approaches

Vancouver Island athletes are gearing up for the longest-running basketball tournament in the province.

Totem 63 will take place at Alberni District Secondary School from Thursday, Jan. 11 to Saturday, Jan. 13.

Port Alberni’s annual basketball tournament is in its 63rd year. Totem began as a four-team boy’s tournament in 1955—a format that continued until 1982, when the tournament expanded to eight teams. In 2011, a girl’s pool was added, and in 2015, the tournament expanded to sixteen teams from across Vancouver Island.

“It’s the longest running high school tournament in the province,” said ADSS athletic director Mike Roberts. “Not just basketball.”

But Totem isn’t just a series of basketball games. The three-day tournament also features performances from the school’s dance and cheer teams and a Totem Spirit competition. A Wall of Fame inductee ceremony take place between two feature games on Friday, Jan. 12.

“The visiting teams are going to see something they’ve never seen before,” said Roberts, describing home crowds of up to 700 people. “It’s a party, it’s fun.”

This year also features something new: a “mini” Totem game, comprised of students from the Port Alberni Basketball Association, made up of boys and girls from every elementary school in the Alberni Valley. The short, six-minute game will take place on Thursday.

The tournament kicks off on Thursday, Jan. 11 at the ADSS gym with the Armada Boys vs. Edward Milne at 5:15 p.m. The Armada Girls game vs. Kwalikum will follow at 7:00 p.m.

Admission for games on Thursday is $5. On Friday and Saturday, admission for games is $5 for kids ages 5-11, and $8 for ages 12 and up. A tournament pass is $10 for ages 5-11 and $15 for ages 12 and up. Kids under five years old receive free admission.

You’ll be able to keep up with Totem Tournament updates on their Facebook page or their website.

Girls Pool:

ADSS (Port Alberni)

Ballenas (Qualicum/Parksville)

Belmont (Victoria)

Edward Milne (Sooke)

Esquimalt (Victoria)

Kwalikum (Qualicum)

Lambrick Park (Victoria)

Pacific Christian (Victoria)

Boys Pool:

ADSS (Port Alberni)

Ballenas (Qualicum/Parksville)

Edward Milne (Sooke)

Esquimalt (Victoria)

Mark Isfeld (Comox)

Reynolds (Victoria)

Spectrum (Victoria)

Stellys (Victoria)

All games will be held at the Athletic Hall and ADSS gym.

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com