Miniball jump starting with new affiliation

The Terrace Youth Basketball Association is jump starting their miniball program again, but this year, it’s under a new local banner.

Solomon Johnson and coach Mike Johnson at a miniball game from 2012.

The Terrace Youth Basketball Association is jump starting their miniball program for kids, but this year, it’s under a new local banner.

Previously known as the Steve Nash Youth League, the program is now under the University of Northern British Columbia and is called the Jr. Timberwolves League.

Coordinator Joe Dominguez said it saves money and supports the local university and local graduates.

“UNBC is in our area and they come here all the time to do camps,” Dominguez said. “We would rather partner with them because they do so much for our community as well.”

Focused on skill development, the miniball Jr. Timberwolves is an after school co-ed basketball program for children in Grades 2-9.Split into three levels, the children practice Wednesdays and scrimmage Fridays at Caledonia Secondary from September to November.

The Caledonia senior boys basketball team does much of the coaching and refereeing for the miniball league, raising money for their team travel and developing their leadership abilities.

Some say it’s where boys become men, said Cam MacKay of the program. MacKay and his wife Adri ran the program for many years, but are stepping back this year. He says they’ve done it for the kids.

“It’s coaching… it’s a grassroots program developing an interest and passion for a sport that the children will continue to play,” he said.

They learn leadership by coaching, refereeing and keeping score. They develop sportsmanship and they develop diplomatic skills when they have to curb poor sportsmanship, he said.

Dominguez, who is taking over the program this year, said that he is a product of this type of program, has children in it, and helps run it for very similar reasons.

“I share the same values, [and I see] the importance of the skills that we are developing… leadership, as well as responsibility,” he said, explaining that the senior boys eventually learn to set up and run the program completely on their own.

Jaden Holland is a Grade 12 student who played miniball starting in Grade 4 and is now on the Cal senior team and coaching miniball.

He said he enjoyed miniball as a kid because it was fun, he learned basketball skills and teamwork and he got to play with kids from other schools. Now as a coach, Holland says he has developed other abilities as well.

“I would say I’m a lot more friendly, I’m a lot more open to people,” he said, adding that he tries to encourage shy kids in the league.

Holland said he enjoys coaching the older kids, as it’s more competitive and he can see them develop and play hard.

Miniball is open to children born between 2002 and 2009.

Registration is from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sept. 15 and Sept. 22 at Caledonia.