Canada Basketball is pleased to announce that with today’s vote by City Council, Edmonton will become the home of the Canadian Women’s Basketball Team. This decision supports the city’s ongoing efforts to affirm its reputation as a centre of excellence for sport development, while also aligning with Canada Basketball’s goal of expanding its operations.

The plan, developed in association with the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation, sees the Canadian women’s basketball team training out of the Saville Community Sports Centre located at the University of Alberta’s south campus. Canada Basketball’s President and CEO, Wayne Parrish, recognizes that “this is the culmination of tremendous work by a great many folks connected with the City of Edmonton; it could not have happened without their heart and dedication and, especially, the vision and leadership of Mayor Stephen Mandel.”

“Edmonton has an incredibly rich tradition of women's basketball, and for our national team to embark on its Olympic quest inspired by the friendly ghosts of the Edmonton Grads of yesteryear is the crowning touch. We believe that this announcement marks the beginning of a beautiful friendship between the City of Edmonton and Canada Basketball, one that will flourish and grow deeper and broader in the months and years ahead,” Parrish added.

This initiative marks an important step forward for both parties. The allocation of $500,000 in each of the next four years shows the City’s commitment to grow the game and develop Edmonton as a centre of excellence in basketball. “Edmonton is committed to becoming a beacon for basketball, both nationally and globally, and this is an important step in us achieving that goal,” says Paul Sir, Executive Director with Basketball Alberta. “We believe that the unique model and the partnership with the University of Alberta will be far reaching in its impact. It also presents an exciting opportunity to blend the talents and mentoring abilities of our nation’s elite athletes and coaches with the youth and leadership in our inner city communities to provide enriching experiences and to grow the sport.”

The city's support of the national team serves as a direct extension of two arms of Edmonton's 10-year strategic plan The Way Ahead. The Way We Prosper is centred on the notion of economic diversification as a means towards the development of Edmonton as an economic powerhouse globally. This partnership between Canada Basketball and the City of Edmonton demonstrates the viability of the city to house international competition given the city’s infrastructure and the people willing to support such initiatives. The Way We Live focuses upon strengthening the bond between the city and its citizens. The involvement of the SWNT will go beyond the walls of the Saville Community Sports Centre and extend to the many diverse communities across the city.

“We are excited to welcome the women’s national team to Edmonton, but we are particularly excited about the opportunities it offers our community,” says Mayor Stephen Mandel. “Canada Basketball has committed to outreach efforts targeting at-risk youth and inner city communities which fit with our goals of improving the overall physical and emotional health of Edmontonians. We look forward to welcoming the coaching staff and players into our community.”

As Canada strives for excellence on the international stage, the National Team Program continues to see support from the country’s basketball community. Today’s announcement from Edmonton City Council further cements Canada as a nation of basketball as we band together the East and West Coasts in support of Team Canada and the growth and development of the game domestically.