Halifax to host the 2004 U21 Tournament of the Americas

(HALIFAX, October 30, 2003) -- Canada Basketball announced that Halifax will play host to the Under 21 Tournament of the Americas in July of 2004 in a press release issued today.

This is the first time the event has been held in Atlantic Canada. "A winning combination," explains Fred MacGillivray, Chair, the 2004 Under 21 Tournament of the Americas. "Canada Basketball and Events Halifax have established a long-term working relationship for hosting international basketball events. By working together we can attract more international basketball events to Canada. This is quite unheard of for a city to establish a relationship with a national sport organization."

"We are absolutely thrilled to be hosting the 2004 Under 21 Tournament of the Americas," said Canada Basketball Executive Director, Leslie Dal Cin. "The 2004 Under 21 Tournament of the Americas is a prestigious FIBA America event which will provide an excellent opportunity for Canada to showcase its exceptional young talent. We are also very pleased to be partnering on the event with Events Halifax, one of Canada's top event organizations and Halifax, a city with a track record of hosting successful international competitions."

The 2004 Under 21 Tournament of the Americas is the "best of the best " the world has to offer. This event will feature the future stars of the NCAA and the NBA. Past basketball stars who have participated in this tournament: Carl English (NBA last cut of Pacers), Todd MacCulloch (NBA), Tim Duncan (2003 NBA Champs, NBA MVP, Best Players), Brad Miller, Paul Pierce, Emanuel Ginobili (2003 NBA Champs, NBA All Rookie team 2003) and Nene (NBA All Rookie Team 2003).

This event is held every four years to determine which three countries will represent the FIBA Americas at the FIBA Under 22 World Championships. The FIBA Under 22 World Championships is held the year following the Under 21 Tournament of the Americas. The FIBA World Championships are renamed Under 22 so players who participated in the regional qualification tournaments are eligible for the World Championships.

The Canadian National Team has never qualified for the FIBA Under 22 World Championships. There have been three previous FIBA Under 22 World Championships. The tournaments were held in 1993 (Burgos, Palencia and Valladolid, Spain), 1997 (Melbourne, Australia) and 2001 (Saitama, Japan). Canada has hosted a FIBA World Championship tournament or a FIBA Americas Qualification Tournament on three previous occasions: 1991, FIBA Junior Men’s World Championships (Edmonton); 1994, FIBA Men’s World Championships (Toronto); 1995, FIBA Women’s Americas Olympic Qualification Tournament (Hamilton).

"Hosting international sporting events raises the profile of our facilities, our province, and most importantly, our goal to strengthen the role of sport and physical activity in healthy lifestyles," said Rodney MacDonald, Health Promotion Minister.

The World Basketball Qualification Tournament will spread the message of sport throughout Nova Scotia and Canada. "With Canada Basketball and Basketball Nova Scotia we will be able to motivate kids to get involved with this sport, secure participation of Canada’s elite basketball players at all levels, develop and strengthen Canada’s high performance basketball program and develop grassroots programs across Canada," explains Ed McHugh President, Basketball Nova Scotia.

The students shunpike: shunning cars, walking to school

(HALIFAX, November 3, 2003) -- Students from 81 schools across Nova Scotia shunned vehicles on October 8 and walked or wheeled to school to mark International Walk to School Day. Three of these schools were rewarded for their efforts in a provincial prize draw.

MacLennan Junior High in Westmount won a prize package including an award banner and three educational environmental games along with 25 hardwood tree saplings to plant on school property. Hebbville Academy in Bridgewater and Ecole St. Albert in Salmon River won 15 and 10 tree saplings respectively. All three schools had 100% of students participate in the event.

The prize package was donated by Go for Green and Intelli-kid. The trees were donated by the Stuart family of Blackwatch Farms in the Gaspereau Valley. Students will plant the trees on school property or in the community after they are delivered on November 4.

The October 8 event raised awareness about the importance of regular physical activity, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles and traffic safety around our schools. It is also a spring board for schools to begin related projects, such as walking school buses and mapping safe routes to school.

International Walk to School Day is an initiative of Active & Safe Routes to School, a national program of Go for Green. In Nova Scotia it is coordinated by the Ecology Action Centre in partnership with the Nova Scotia Office of Health Promotion. For more information, call Janet ABrlow at (902) 442-5055, e-mail: asrts@ecologyaction.ca

Grade 5 kids ski & ride free

Canadian snow resorts are offering free skiing to Canada’s grade 5 students.

The Grade 5 SnowPass is free for kids born in 1993 and kids who are in Grade 5. It offers three free days of downhill, cross-country and snowboarding at every participating area in the region in which they live.

"If there are 15 participating resorts in your region," says Colin Chedore, President of the Canadian Ski Council, "you can ski or ride three times this season at each one of them. That adds up to 45 days total of skiing and riding absolutely free!"

SnowPass holders living in eastern Canada can access 98 participating ski areas in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

SnowPass holders in western Canada can ski and ride free at 49 participating resorts in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

The SnowPass is valid for free skiing and riding all winter long -- from December 1st until the end of the snow season. The pass is not valid at some ski areas during major holidays like Christmas and March Break, and some ski areas require a paying adult accompany the SnowPass holder.

Ski and ride free

In Grade 6, Too! Also included inside this year’s SnowPass: coupons for complimentary days of downhill, cross-country or snowboarding at some participating ski areas for the SnowPass holder to use next year when they’re in grade 6.

"We want to keep giving kids opportunities to ski and snowboard," says Chedore. "These sports are fantastic winter pastimes -- ideal for a country like Canada that enjoys ideal winter weather and state-of-the-art ski hills and trails. The SnowPass program is now entering its seventh season and we look forward to another successful year."

Family discounts

The Grade 5 SnowPass is a coupon book developed by the Canadian Ski Council and its partners to encourage kids to try skiing, snowboarding or cross-country skiing for the first time, or to get them out on the slopes more often. To provide even more incentive, the SnowPass has coupons for discounts on lessons, equipment rentals and other purchases for the whole family.

How to get an application

The Canada West SnowPass is available for 10 year old children who live in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The Canada East SnowPass is available for children born in 1993 or who are in Grade 5 and live in Ontario, Quebec or Atlantic Canada.

Grade 5 students can pick up SnowPass applications from their teachers, or at any Sports Experts or Intersport store in Quebec or Sport Chek and Sport Mart stores elsewhere in Canada. Applications are also available online at www.snowpass.org, and in Ski Press magazine, which is distributed free of charge at sports stores and ski resorts everywhere.

The Grade 5 SnowPass is funded and presented by the Canadian Ski Council and its member organizations; National Snow Industries Association, Atlantic Ski Areas Association, Quebec Ski Areas Association, Ontario Snow Resorts Association, Canada West Ski Areas Association, Canadian Ski Instructors' Alliance, Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors and Canadian Ski Coaches Federation.

How to get in shape for winter

Snow sports are an excellent way to maintain a fitness program during the winter because they help develop aerobic capacity and muscle strength. Year-round, snow sports participants should concentrate on exercises and activities that build endurance, muscles and flexibility, since all of these are recommended to enjoy snow sports to their fullest.

It is important to note, however, that people can enjoy snow sports at a basic level even if they aren't in peak physical condition. A walk on gently rolling terrain in snowshoes or cross country skiing at a leisurely speed on flat ground are a couple of ways a person can include snow sports in a beginning exercise program.

Adopt an Exercise Program: Walking, jogging, bicycling, swimming and weight training are all exercises that will give a person a good foundation to enjoy snow sports.

Develop a Training Program Designed for Snow Sports: Those who want to train specifically for snow sports should include plyometrics in their training program. These jumping movements develop muscle power and strength and improve overall agility. Another important fitness aspect to include is exercises that increase leg strength.

Suggested Exercises: Walking lunge, wall squats, calf raise, pushups and sit ups.

Off-Snow Training: Excellent off-snow conditioning activities include:

*Biking and mountain biking

* Hiking and Backpacking -- downhill walking

* Running

* Kayaking

* Swimming

* In-Line Skating

Warm Up Before Heading Out For A Day on the Slopes:

* Start the day with a hot shower.

* Take a good 10-minute stretch immediately following shower.

* Remember to warm up once you're on the hill or trail. For downhill skiers and snowboarders, this means taking your first two runs at a slower speed on an easier slope. For cross country skiers and snowshoers, it means starting on flatter ground and at a slower pace. Warm-up runs after lunch are also a good idea.

* Wrap up the day with a trip to the hot tub or with another hot shower or bath. Heat will soothe aching muscles.

For more information about skiing and snowboarding in Canada, visit www.skicanada.org

It is recommended that before proceeding with any physical activity that you consult your physician first.

Article courtesy of Snow Industries America