The 2024 Sal’s National Basketball League season will be tipping off with a bit of Coaster style as the preseason event returns to the sporting calendar for the first time since 2018 and for the first time ever on the West Coast in what will be a historic event for basketball in the region.
This year’s preseason tournament runs from Tuesday March 12th to Saturday March 16th and will host 8 NBL teams playing 12 games in Greymouth and Westport, ensuring locals from across the region can get their high-level hoops fix while promoting the West Coast to fans of New Zealand’s fastest growing sport across the nation.
This event won’t just be a chance for NBL pros to perfect their game, as youth across the region will take part in community clinics and school visits that will run in conjunction with NBL teams and players. New Zealand’s best basketballers will be sharing their knowledge to develop the skills and confidence of up to 2,000 tamariki at over 25 schools from across the West Coast during the week of activity.
Patrick Dault, Destination and Tourism Manager for Development West Coast says, “The Westside NBL Blitz is a fantastic outcome of the Regional Events Fund in application. The Westside NBL Blitz is sure to be a great event, bringing in a national sporting federation to two coast communities, exposing young people to sports, positive role models and active lifestyles for which the benefits are priceless. In addition to this, organisers believe that the event will inject more than half a million dollars to the local economy, which is a very good return on investment from a financial perspective.”
The on-court action is sure to be furious as teams compete for the inaugural Westside Blitz Trophy which will be awarded to the winner of the competition based on a unique scoring system that will be shared prior to the tournament. NBL players will want to be at their best individually as voting will recognise the top player of the tournament as the MVP to receive the Phill Jones Medal. Named in honour of the West Coaster, a legendary New Zealand Tall Black who originally hailed from Reefton before settling in Nelson as a professional.
The ‘Westside Blitz’ is the brainchild of Kelvin Fisher, an ex-Coaster passionate about the region he’s from and what growing the sport of basketball will mean for the next generation of West Coast athletes.
“With the support of Development West Coast, New World Greymouth and other generous partners we have been able to bring about an event that brings a great collection of professional talent to take part in the largest indoor sporting events in the region’s history," said Fisher.
"It’s a great opportunity to highlight the West Coast to the nation while collaborating with the Sal’s NBL to benefit the local economy and community by officially bringing NBL basketball to the region!”
Not only will local basketball players and fans engage with all the hoops action but with planned clinics for referees, officials, statisticians and coaches there will be an opportunity to upskill all elements of the game in the region to leave a lasting impression that will help shape the sport on the West Coast for years to come.