For 30 years, the Montreal North community has gathered every year for its street basketball tournament, the largest of its kind in Quebec. The event, which has become a must, has both a sporting and a social function.
“It represents a heritage. It's not just a sporting event. It is a gathering place where young people can meet friends and perform in front of their pair. It also helps to strengthen their sense of belonging,” explained Sheilla Fortuné, director of the Maison des jeunes L'Ouverture, the organization that organizes the tournament.
Sheilla Fortuné, director of the Maison des jeunes in Montreal North. The Montreal-North street basketball tournament will take place from August 4 to 7.
The event has however had to be put on hold for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In its last edition, in 2019, 29 teams were registered, for a total of around 280 players.
Despite this forced stop, Ms. Fortuné is certain that the next edition, which will take place from August 4 to 7, will be a success. “It goes beyond Montreal North, we have young people from all over the place who come to take part in it, she pointed out. It's the way to respond to a need to come together.”
Since its beginnings in 1992, the tournament also aims to allow organizations working in the neighborhood to reach young people more easily. .
“It’s also an opportunity to show them positive role models. Young people who grew up in the neighborhood and who stood out. We are talking about basketball, but there are also other models like that in other professions. It's important for young people to have benchmarks,” said Ms. Fortuné.
Over the years , several players who took part in the tournament were able to reach the professional ranks. Samuel Dalembert, Luguentz Dort and Bennedict Mathurin are some examples.
Currently playing the position of playmaker for the Montreal Alliance, of which he is captain, after a long international career, Hernst Laroche has good memories.
“We won a lot of matches, he recalled. There was a great atmosphere, it was full and it's the best street tournament. You wanted to play well in front of everyone.”
For him, the event was a must in the neighborhood, helping to keep the community “close-knit” and to showcase the talent of the players.
“You have to work hard, be disciplined, and really love basketball, because there are days when it's more complicated. The more work you put into it, the more benefits you will receive,” he recommended to those who wish to follow in his footsteps.
Playmaker for Southern Nazarene University in the NCAA, Shawn Barthélemy hopes to be the next to reach the professional ranks. He has also agreed to be honorary president of the 28th edition of the tournament, after having participated several times in previous years.
Shawn Barthélémy is honorary president of the 28th edition of the basketball tournament. The Montreal-North street basketball tournament will take place from August 4 to 7.
“You can help young people through basketball to show them the right way,” he said. I was in their shoes before. If you focus on your dream, you always have a chance.
Stevens Valentin, who took part in the tournament three times before joining the team of organizers, recalls that these successes can only have positive effects.
“It helps to keep the 'hope and motivate young people to want to go beyond their limit to go far,' believes the young man, believing that such examples can encourage more participants to get involved.
Remarks approved by his twin brother Evens, close to him, who is also part of the team of organizers.
Mayor of the borough of Montreal-North, Christine Black wishes that the event has the expected success, after the forced break of the last two years.
Christine Black, Mayor of the Borough of Montreal-North The Montreal-North street basketball tournament will take place from August 4 to 7 .
“This is one of our biggest events of the year. It has a great influence, and with all the players who have been through the tournament, and who have made it far, it is very significant,” she said.
The borough will also provide logistical support throughout the event.
“It's a revival, we're starting all that again. We hope that it will live up to the expectations of young people and that we will be able to see the basketball tournament as we have known it for all these years, ”said Ms. Black.
The Tournament street basketball will take place from August 4 to 7, at Le Carignan Park in Montreal North.