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First Atlantic NCAA Division 1 basketball tournament coming to Moncton

By Ryley Roach Jul 28, 2023 | 1:26 PM

Events Moncton and On Ice Entertainment are preparing for the first Atlantic Slam NCAA Division 1 college basketball tournament.

With the recent development of a Community Activation Committee, being spearheaded by local community leader Norval McConnell, the tournament will take place Nov. 16 to 19, 2023.

Four college basketball teams have been invited to compete in a variety of matchups at the Avenir Centre to win the top spot for the first time in Atlantic Canada. These schools include Gardner-Webb University, Yale University, Weber State University, and Colgate University.

“We have representatives from four different divisions that are going to come, the host region is the Big South league,” said McConnell. “They will provide one team every year to this, and then they and we invite the other three teams that will make the four teams in the tournament.”

McConnell has a great amount of experience with basketball. Having been involved in basketball ever since he was a kid playing on teams himself, McConnell has a passion for the sport which others say goes beyond the court itself.

“For me personally, and a lot of the people I encountered along the way, [basketball] played a big role in us in finding something that we loved and enjoyed, in increasing our circle of friends, learning a little bit about competition, you know, how to win and how to lose,” said McConnell. “I’ve always felt that sport gives youth a real opportunity to deal with adversity and to develop some skills to overcome that adversity.”

McConnell said that they are aiming to make the tournament an amazing experience for both the audience and the players alike. They want to build a reputation around the tournament so that in the following years, not only will other teams be excited to be invited to compete, but the community will also be excited to come watch.

Events Moncton has the potential to hold Atlantic Slam every year for the next six years or so. McConnell said that this year will be the test run to see that everything goes well, but that they would not be surprised to have 4,000 to 5,000 people in attendance on any given night.

McConnell and a variety of others are working to put together a variety of groups that will focus on one specific element of the Atlantic Slam, such as putting on a kitchen party for the sponsors, players, and community members will be able to attend to kick off the tournament.

“We want this to be for the participating teams, the fans, and our local communities, to be more than just a basketball tournament,” said McConnell.

For more information on Atlantic Slam, visit their website here.


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