The Edmonton Grads started in 1912, as a team of graduating high school basketball players with a tough but imaginative coach. Ten years later, the seven-woman team competed in their first international basketball tournament. The Grads beat the Cleveland Favorite-Knits 55-33, over two games, to win the Underwood Trophy for the best team on the continent.
Over the next eighteen years, the Grads did the same thing in other countries around the world — again and again. Until the outbreak of the Second World War, they were the most dominant and successful sports team of any kind. And their record stands.
The sport’s inventor, Dr. James Naismith, called them…
...the finest basketball team that ever stepped out on a floor.Dr. James Naismith
It’s the sort of thing that happens again and again in Edmonton: a few talented people with an idea come together quietly and modestly, with the help of their community, to build something extraordinary. When it’s ready, they take it to the world.
Our modern basketball ambitions started small, as most things do here, at the community level. We’re unusually good at hosting events, so that’s what we did. The events grew progressively larger and more ambitious. We hosted more and more local, provincial, and national tournaments, grew an army of volunteers, connected with other successful sports initiatives in the city. We proved ourselves. Then, thanks to a few tireless leaders in the city, and thousands of supporters, Edmontonians built one of the finest basketball facilities on the continent in 2011 — the Saville Community Sports Centre.
With the development of the Saville Community Sports Centre, Basketball Alberta, Edmonton Tourism, the City of Edmonton and Canada Basketball began to discuss the creation of a basketball centre of excellence in Edmonton. This initiative would create the opportunity for high level competitions at the professional, international national team levels; and expand community programming and outreach particularly to the at-risk youth population.
The bottom-up energy of basketball in Edmonton meets the best in the world in the Saville Centre, with its 12 FIBA-size courts. First the home of the Senior Women’s National Team, and then with the Edmonton Grads International Classic versus Brazil, and shortly in August 2015, the FIBA Americas Women’s Championship, qualifier for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, will be in Edmonton.
There isn’t a better place to train, or play, in Canada.
It’s a privilege to compete on home soil, especially on our home court in Edmonton,Denise Dignard, Director of Women’s High Performance.
In August, the Canadian women’s basketball team will have a hometown advantage with an entire city behind them. This story has been in the making for more than one hundred years, and we’re not stopping there.
Canada finished 5th place in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Turkey, its best finish in 20 years
There are more than 300 million players worldwide
Globally, there are 200 Basketball playing nations