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World-class basketball events take over Ice District’s Fan Park

Bigger, better, world-class – that’s what spectators can expect this year from the three-on-three basketball tournament Edmonton is hosting this weekend, says the event’s top organizer.

The weekend festival combines three events – the 2023 FIBA 3×3 World Tour, FIBA 3×3 Women’s Series and Hoop City YEG 3×3 Festival – at the Ice District’s Fan Park, located east of the Rogers Place complex on the corner of 101 Street and 104 Avenue.

Both the men’s and women’s events are steps up in calibre from last year’s. A dozen of the top men’s teams in the world are competing whereas last year’s competitors were a tier lower, while the women’s series includes 12 teams, up from eight.

Hometown heroes Steve Sir, Katherine Plouffe and Michelle Plouffe are slated to take part in the competitions. The Plouffe sisters will suit up for Canada in the women’s series, which feature’s top national teams vying for berths at next year’s Summer Olympics in Paris. Sir is playing for a team based in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia.

The Hoop City event sees 100 grassroots teams competing in a three-on-three tourney and the annual Alberta Basketball three-on-three provincial championships.

“We want to always distinguish Edmonton globally as a city that does things,” said Paul Sir, the former executive director of Alberta Basketball who’s head of the overall festival’s organizing committee. “I’ve heard it said many times that we want to add to the notion that Edmonton punches above its weight. We wanted to bring this here.”

The event will be held at the Fan Park rain or shine thanks to the so-called Magic Sky, the official site covering used at outdoor FIBA events and at the Olympics. Not only does it protect the playing surface, athletes and spectators from rain, it “creates the atmosphere you want to create … an intimate atmosphere even though we’re playing outdoors.,” said Sir.

“(The weekend festival) much more than just basketball,” he said. “It’s supposed to be an event. It’s supposed to be fun. You don’t have to be a basketball fan per se or know a lot about the game in order to have fun at a three-on-three event.”

Ticket prices range from $5 for children, seniors and students, $10 for adults and $25 for a family of five.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Dave Mitchell

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