Rep basketball is up and running in Bruce County



By Tammy Schneider


Volunteer and executive director of Kincardine POWER basketball, Branko Veljovic, has big plans for furthering the popularity of basketball in Bruce County, and introducing more youth to the sport.


Veljovic recently moved his family to Kincardine from the GTA, and one of the biggest concerns his children had with their new community was the lack of a year-round basketball program in the area. Veljovic promised his kids that he would take on the challenge to help expand the current program, in place for about the last 10 years, which had previously offered only spring sessions. The community houseleague ran March through May and was sponsored by OPG.


"I'll be the guy that gets things going," said Veljovic. "Let's make this all year long."


Veljovic has devoted time during the last two years to build awareness about the program. Last year, the fall session saw more than 120 girls and boys registered for the sessions that now run throughout the year.


And this year, for the first time, there is a REP team, for players aged seven to nine years, in Bruce County. Veljovic will continue to add more competitive teams to the upper age groups as interest dictates. The REP team will have the opportunity to play around Ontario, under the Canadian Youth Basketball League. He is also promoting friendly competition within the local league and crosstown, Kincardine versus Port Elgin, for example.


"My goal as a developer is to create opportunity and excitement in the region about basketball," said Veljovic. "Other teams and clubs will be able to come here and experience this."


When asked how the newly-formed teams will benefit the kids, he said, "kids without interest in a sport won't play or have fun. It's the core of mental and physical health. It's the key to a healthy lifestyle."


On Dec. 20, the Power Basketball Christmas Spectacle charity game took place in the KDSS gymnasium. The evening included a competitive basketball game between the KDSS senior boys basketball team and the Power Shoreline All-Stars, raffles, draws for prizes and musical performances. The event was not just a Christmas party, but a way to create awareness about basketball in the area, and show appreciation to sponsors and the community for its support. A nominal $5 entry free was charged at the door, and money raised was donated to the Salvation Army kettle campaign.