HOOPLA 2024 cancelled, Marauder girls decline one-day invitation

Herald File Photo. The St. Mary Marauders girls basketball team in action earlier this season.

HOOPLA 2024 has officially been cancelled due to the ongoing situation between the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation (STF) and the provincial government.

The STF announced sanctions earlier in the week that resulted in all extracurricular activities being withdrawn on Thursday and Friday. As a result, the Saskatchewan High School Athletics Association (SHSAA) announced they would cancel the tournament if sanctions were not lifted by 3 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon.

The sanctions were not lifted by the deadline and the tournament was cancelled. Extracurricular activities were not withdrawn for Saturday, so the SHSAA had planned for a one-day invitational tournament in Moose Jaw with all Hoopla qualifying teams invited.

The St. Mary Marauder girls had qualified for Hoopla thanks to finishing second in the 5A Girls Regional tournament in Prince Albert last weekend.

The Marauders were set to face North Battleford Comprehensive in a 7 vs 8 game at the one-day invitational, but the team declined the invitation.

Head coach Dwayne Gareau says the decision was made by the team as a collective.

“We had a conversation with our team to see if they would accept the invitation or not, and overwhelmingly our team was not in favour of going to play the game, coming off of a very exciting regional final and losing a close one to Swift Current. The girls almost felt like it was anticlimactic to head down to play a one game seventh and eighth place game at that stage with no opportunity of advancement. In contact with the SHSAA ,they were very supportive of our decision and said that we may or may not be alone.”

St. Mary, along with all other high school basketball programs, have dealt with sanctions throughout the entire high school basketball campaign.

Gareau says he was pleased with how his team handled the situation throughout the year.

“We have a very in tune basketball team that understood that this season was unique for the sense that we had sanctions throughout the season. For them, this was still gut-wrenching. We’ve been talking about it, so it wasn’t as much going to impact them on an emotional level because we knew that what we were preaching each time we have an opportunity to meet, to train, to play a game that we don’t we don’t know what will happen moving forward so let’s enjoy the moments while we have them together.”

“There’s that natural human response of disappointment of being frustrated and potentially angry even, but at the same time understanding that you can only control what you control and so they handled it with a certain humility and a certain grace that is far beyond their years.”

The Daily Herald also reached out to Carlton boys head coach Randy Emmerson, but did not receive a response as of press time.