A Richmond summer tradition returns to South Arm Park this weekend.
The 34th annual Dolphin Park Classic tips-off Friday night, showcasing generations of top basketball talent from B.C. and beyond. There is Running Rebels’ captain Steve Lee playing in his 25th tournament while 17-year-old reigning Richmond Senior Girls MVP Liz Kennedy will be making her debut in the women’s division.
However, the Classic is so much more than a NCAA-certified four-on-four outdoor hoops event. It’s more like a three-day summer festival where the atmosphere overshadows the on-court action.
Richmond businesses Sea Island Diner, Purpose Smoothie Co and Fuggles & Warlock will be providing plenty of food and beverages for the ever-popular beer garden and beyond.
Local comedian “Hollywood” Harv Puni will once be looking after the always comical in-game commentary.
Throw in the park-like setting that South Arm provides with its two courts and it’s no wonder the Classic’s final day always attracts a huge crowd.
Making it all possible are the efforts of Steveston High grads Bruce Watson, Bira Bindra, TJ Johal and Tony Wong-Hen who launched the original tournament with a pick-up game against cross-town rivals Richmond High at a neighbourhood park in the summer of 1985. Today, they step away from their busy lives and families to give back to their hometown with this outstanding event.
The Classic has evolved over the years — moving to Thompson Community Centre and then South Arm Park — when additional space was needed. A women’s division was eventually added and has grown to six teams.
A youth tournament features talent from the Richmond Youth Basketball League.
X-Falcons will be back to defend their men’s title and are expected to be led by homegrown talents Elliot Mason and Brody Greig. Original Grandmas are defending their title in the women’s division.
34th Dolphin Park Classic
July 12-14 South Arm Park
Men’s Teams: X-Falcons, Athelite, FVDL, Vikes, Vancouver Huskies, G2, Vancity/Kits, Running Rebels, Young Guns, TRU, NWO.
Women’s Teams: Monsters, Fusion, Original Grandmas, UFV, Wolfpack, GC.
Round-robin games 5-8 p.m.
Round-robin games 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Round-robin games 10 a.m.-noon
1 p.m.-4 p.m. playoffs
5 p.m. Women’s Final
6 p.m. Slunk Dunk/3-point Contest
7:30 p.m. Men’s Final