2nd Annual Alex McLaughlin Memorial Basketball Tournament Kicks Off

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Last weekend the Homburg Centre, home of the Saint Mary’s AMMBT2Huskies was at capacity to witness Team NS win Canada Basketball’s U17 National Title. This week another historical and impactful event will take place.

“We are so excited for this year’s Alex McLaughlin Memorial Basketball Tournament. Moving to the beautiful Homburg Centre allows us to have Men’s and Women’s games in the same venue and gives us more space for the increasing popularity of the tournament,” said Mark McLaughlin.

This move allows them to draw more attention to a very important social issue – Depression and Suicide in university athletics.

“This year we will be supporting SAMHI (Student Athlete Mental Health Initiative) for our fundraising efforts, which allows us to specifically target the mental health needs of student-athletes.”

I have been involved in the game of basketball all my life because it is a venue for teaching many lessons off the court. The McLaughlin family who has been ingrained in the roots of basketball in Nova Scotia has taken this event to a new level.

In 2014, Alex Mclauglin an outstanding player who helped Acadia win an AUS banner in 2012 took his own life as he worked through his senior final exams.

Alex’s very courageous family, who first hand saw what the silence of depression can lead to, decided it was time for this to become a front line issue.

Photo Courtesy of Chronicle Herald Sports

Photo Courtesy of Chronicle Herald Sports

The AMMBT was founded very quickly and an overwhelming awareness and support of depression and suicide was created in the basketball world. On the court, the emotions and energy were channeled into play and performance that led to an exceptional basketball tournament and exceptional team play. In a fitting end to the inaugural tournament Mark McLaughlin’s (a former Saint Mary’s GREAT) team won the tournament and return to continue to draw light to the issue and defend their title.

Again for the second year in a row the tournament draws in great talent of present and former AUS, CIS, ACAA, CCAA and professional players.

Mark speaks for his family and a large group of volunteers “We welcome the best of the current Atlantic basketball players, both men and women, as well as the best over the past 10 years. Looking forward to the highest level basketball tournament Atlantic Canada has to offer.”

I will be attending this AMMBT and we at North Pole Hoops see this as an important weekend for basketball and the people that are involved in the game. We take this time to remind people in all aspects of life but in particular in basketball that the time, energy and emotions that go into the game are extreme. We must not get lost in competition, drills & training and forget that athletes are people pursuing a dream. That pursuit comes with a roller coaster of emotions. Coaches, administrators and support networks must familiarize themselves with this process and be able to able to provide support.

As someone who has gone through bouts of depression because of what has occurred in and around the game of basketball, I have first hand knowledge of how this world can eat you up.

Again, the pressures are real because we often forget that these are people with feelings and emotions not drones turning out wins and losses. That in 99.9% of cases these are volunteers and kids involved in a game because they LOVE IT.

See that love this weekend at the  Alex McLaughlin Memorial Basketball Tournament.

Life Changing Topic…

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