Kainai team to play in Calgary tournament despite referee dispute
Kainai Board of Education (KBE) logo. Credit tio KBE on Facebook
The Kainai Board of Education says it’s disappointed that some Calgary referees refused to officiate games involving Blood Reserve teams at the Stampede Showdown Tournament.
Last week it came to light the Calgary Basketball Officials Association didn’t want to take part in any games involving Kainai players because of a conflict back in February regarding a high school team from the local reserve.
In a statement, the Kainai Board of Education says the incident of concern from earlier in the year is being looked into and will be addressed.
The Board also says it hopes positive steps can be taken from here on in which will mitigate any future repercussions for Kanai-based basketball teams.
Truman Soop, a coach for two Indigenous teams in the Calgary tournament says the kids were devastated when they were told they might not be able to take part.
Organizers decided last week to hire different referees for Kainai games so the players, who are between eight and 15 years old, would not be banned.
Last Wednesday, the Officials Association released a statement it was refusing to referee any Kainai teams due to security concerns. The association hasn’t revealed what led to those concerns.