Ottawa Basketball Network

Olympic-Bound, Canada Basketball Speaker Kicks-off 2nd Annual Ottawa Basketball Summit

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in Canada. And it’s growing. This
summer, with 3 national teams qualifying for the Paris Olympics, basketball will get even bigger.

That’s one of the messages Canada Basketball Director, Sandy MacIntosh, will
deliver in a keynote on

 “The State of the Game”. His address is part of this Saturday,
June 8th’s 2nd Annual “Ottawa Basketball Summit,” at the University of Ottawa. It’organized by the Ottawa Basketball Network (OBN), a not-for-profit advocacy group. OBN is dedicated to connecting, advocating, and enabling Ottawa’s basketball community.

Mathieu Fleury, former City Councillor, Chair of the Board of the Ottawa Sport Council and co-founding OBN member says: “Basketball is a sport of the future.  But in Ottawa, we don’t have enough space and capacity to meet the local demand to learn, play, and grow the game.”

The impact of Paris 2024 will be felt by every sports organization in Canada. The
The Olympics are a global sport and media platform. Basketball is one of the Game’s
biggest draws. Canada’s Olympic basketball teams will motivate girls and boys to
get into the game. Volunteer-based basketball clubs, already struggling to meet
demand, will use the Basketball Summit to connect and plan for that rush.

Canada’s men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams have also qualified for
the 2024 Para-Olympics. In September 2026, Ottawa will host the men’s and
women’s Wheelchair World Basketball Championships. The Summit can help Ottawa
to prepare.

In April, Ottawa successfully hosted the largest-ever Ontario Cup basketball
championships. A record 167, U14 boys’ teams from across the province came to
Ottawa to compete in 21 divisions. Over 2,100 youth basketball players took part.
Over 10,000 Ottawa youth play basketball in clubs. Tens of thousands more play at
schools, youth service organizations, parks, driveways, and even streets. But
thousands more want to be part of organized basketball. The City of Ottawa Parks
and Recreation Department has accepted an invitation to the Summit to learn how it
can help.

Exceptionally, unlike rink, field, and aquatic sports, the City of Ottawa’s Parks and
Recreation policies do not give organized basketball any allocated financial support
or facility access. But it’s probably because organized basketball hasn’t done a good
job of communicating its needs and value proposition. That’s why the Summit was

OBN wants to use basketball as a unifying force to build people and communities.
Board member Shamir Kanji says: “More than any other sport, the Ottawa basketball
community represents the diversity of our city. It is evident in the range of leaders:
coaches, parents, and former players who attend the Summit.” 
OBN board member Lily Tran says “Many people who want to play are left out of
Ottawa basketball, especially women and marginalized people. Local organizations try to meet the demand, but spaces and capacity remain the main barriers to
supporting the community.

Basketball is engrained in Ottawa’s history and heritage. And with tens of thousands
of Ottawa youth playing, it’s a big part of our future. Ottawa Basketball Network has
developed a 4-pillar strategy to grow access to basketball. It’s shaped around
increasing infrastructure, governance, and capacity to leverage this local asset.
Ottawa is the birthplace of basketball in Canada, as Library and Archives Canada
acknowledged in a January 2024 blog post, also reported here.

The Toronto Star reported in December how the Ottawa Basketball Network, and
New York University professor, David Hollander, was central to the creation of
“World Basketball Day” at the United Nations. The new International Day of
Observance, December 21, commemorates the date James Naismith of Almonte,
invented basketball. Basketball is a unifying cultural achievement and Naismith’s
lasting gift to the world.

To see the basketball community in action, drop by the Ottawa Basketball Summit,
run by Canada’s first and only basketball advocacy group: Ottawa Basketball