“It’s a culture (event as well),” said Faro Halupa, head coach of the Three Oaks Axemen. “I had an idea what it was going to be like, although I had never been here before this.
“Most of the things people say about it is true. The (host) school (Breton Education Centre) is very involved, and all the students are very involved.
“Whatever is going on, all the students have had a part in it in all likelihood.”
Play opened Monday at noon, and continues through until the championship game Saturday afternoon.
The Summerside-based Axemen, who won their opening game 71-53 against Mount Boucherie Secondary School from West Kelowna, B.C., on Monday, are housed in a classroom at the host Breton Educational Centre.
“We have a classroom that is all decorated up with a whole bunch of stuff,” said Halupa. “They have our names and numbers all over the room. It was very impressive when we got there.”
The 10 teams from across the county competing in the tournament stay in rooms in a wing of the host school.
The Grade 7 and 8 classes at Breton Education Centre decorated the rooms. Tuesday, the Axemen visited the Grade 7 class that set up their room.
“We were there for about half an hour or so,” said Halupa. “We introduced ourselves, they asked a lot of questions about basketball and P.E.I.
“They seemed to really enjoy having us come in and talk to them. I think that was not just because they didn’t have to do schoolwork, but because it is something that goes on here all the time (in conjunction with the tournament).”
The Axemen are also planning on taking advantage of tours offered to competing teams.
“There are lots of tours you can go on,” said Halupa. “I think we’re planning on going on one of the coal mine on Thursday.”
The Axemen will continue to engage in the New Waterford community following Wednesday’s game, when they are scheduled to bag groceries at the local Sobeys.
“Sobeys is one of the (tournament’s) big sponsors,” said Halupa. “They have all the teams go out there and bag groceries for an hour, or carry things out to cars for people, just to get out in the community and for people in the community to see you out there.
“It will be a good experience for the boys. They take donations and all that money will go to a charity after the two days of all the teams being there.”