By Dwayne Tingley
St. John's Edge have always realized the importance of working closely with their youngest fans.
The National Basketball League of Canada team has consistently sent its players to visit schools and attend minor basketball games and practices since their inception three years ago.
"We've always been known as a hockey-first area in the province of Newfoundland so people were a little skeptical about bringing professional basketball here so we've had to sell the game," said Kelsey Brazil, the Edge's director of team operations.
"The kids have always been fun to work with and I know the players appreciate their support," she added. "It's always great to see a lot of kids at our games. It shows that our mission of selling the sport and the excitement of the games is working."
That acknowledgment will continue for the rest of the season, when young basketball players will be able to purchase game tickets for just $5 each.
There are no age restrictions. Players ranging from novices to high school players, when wearing their team jerseys, will be eligible to buy the $5 tickets.
"The kids create a lot of excitement and you tell they love the game of basketball," Brazil said. "It's just something we wanted to give back to our youngest supporters."
The Edge sent several players to Bishop Abraham Elementary School in St. John's last week and they'll be going to Holy Family Elementary School in Paradise this week.
"Canada might be hockey-first, but there is a whole generation of basketball fans growing up," Brazil said. "The Raptors created a lot of excitement in Canada and we're creating a lot of excitement in our province so it looks like basketball has a bright future in the country."