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Dolphin Classic tips off today on renovated Thompson courts

26th annual summer hoop tourney concludes on Sunday

The new home of the Dolphin Park Classic is continuing to look more like the old one.

When the Classic was forced to move to the Thompson Community Centre after simply becoming to big for the quaint Dolphin Avenue neighbourhood park, the hope was to generate the same electric atmosphere that has made the outdoor basketball tournament one of the can't miss events of the summer.

Thanks to an excellent working relationship with the Thompson Community Association, the festive-like setting has been replicated and the event has been allowed to expand. Now, players are in for another familiar Dolphin feature when tournament tips-off today at 5 p.m.

Both of Thompson's outdoor courts have not only been resurfaced but also shortened to match the same dimensions as the Dolphin Park venue. The court renovations also include new hoop standards.

"I know the Thompson staff are ecstatic with the end result," said longtime Dolphin co-organizer Bruce Watson. "They are now seeing kids playing full court (pick-up games)."

The courts are about eight feet shorter in length and also have been narrowed width wise. Watson says it will improve the overall quality of the play.

"One of the reasons we went to Dolphin (park) in the first place is we thought it was the right court dimensions for a tournament in the summer where you are playing a number of games in, likely, warm weather.

"We gave our recommendations to (Thompson) and are really excited with the changes. I don't think we could be working with a better group of people."

This year's event features 13 teams in the men's division including defending champion X-Falcons - led by longtime participants Randy Nohr and Navi Sekon. The women's division has six teams.

A couple of added twists include a high school game set for Saturday at 6 p.m. and the slam dunk contest taking place after the men's championship game which tips off at 7 p.m. on Sunday.

"It's our most popular event so we thought why not end the tournament with it," added Watson. "We will see how it goes."

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