MSA Outdoor Classic returns to Abbotsford

Four young adults bringing back basketball tournament from the early 1980s

(From left) Jamie Konrad

(From left) Jamie Konrad

Rummaging through old boxes in his family’s garage led to inspiration for Abbotsford Senior Secondary grad Matt Brar.

While making space for a workout in his garage, an old box took his father Sukhvinder Brar on a trip down memory lane.

Sukhvinder showed off some of his old trophies to his son, including several from the MSA Outdoor Basketball Tournament – an event in Abbotsford that ran for several years in the 1980s.

The chatter between father and son continued, and eventually Matt was motivated to revive the tournament for a new generation of Abbotsford hoopsters.

“It ran for about three or four years and as soon as I told my kids about they wanted to bring it back with their own vision,” Sukhvinder said. “The MSA courts were really the only place to play basketball back in the day for Abbotsford.”

There are a lot more places for locals to play today, but Matt said it’s still the perfect venue for a local basketball tournament.

“There are already all these big tournaments in Vancouver like Kitsfest but Abbotsford doesn’t really have anything like that for basketball,” he said. “I wanted something cool for Abbotsford and not something as intense as Kitsfest, where universities sometimes bring their whole team in. I want to make this a local thing so that even an average player can get on a team and enjoy it.”

The event is set for Aug. 12 to 14 at the MSA outdoor courts, with eight teams participating. The format will be four-on-four, with six to 10 guys on each team’s roster. Teams will be split into two pools of four, and will square off in three round robin games. From there, the top two teams in each pool will battle it out in single elimination games for bragging rights.

Matt, who plays for the University of Prince Edward Island, is organizing the tournament with his basketball loving friends Jamie Konrad, Mitch Howden and Cody Lawlor. Konrad plays for the Columbia Bible College Bearcats, while Howden suited up for the University of Northern British Columbia. The four 20-year-old’s want to create a community feel to the event.

All proceeds from the event are being donated to Canuck Place in Abbotsford.

“It’s a good charity to give to,” Matt said. “My dad’s sister passed away from cancer when he was in high school so I think it’s a good thing to help them work with their cancer and terminal patients.”

Matt said the response has been very good early, with four teams confirmed after only a few weeks after the event was announced. He said solo players may be considered, and all those interested can email him at msaoutdoorclassic@gmail.com.

The tournament allows two current college or university players per team, and Matt said he wants to keep the tournament as local as possible. He said he’s spoken with the city, and they’ve expressed interest in working with the tournament in the future, which could include upgrading the playing surface and improved backboards for the courts.

The event is only open for adult male players this year, but Matt said he’d love to include a female division or a high school division in the future.

“We want to keep it small for the first year and then grow it from there,” he said.

For more details on the event, follow the tournament on Twitter – @MSA_Classic.