SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Hoopfest officials are announcing a new youth league for children in the Spokane area.
Spokane School Districts and AAU basketball will be joining forces to create the Hooptown Youth League LLC, where kids will be able to play closer to their home. Kids will be able to play basketball at their local gyms and kids will be grouped from neighboring schools if needed.
Costs for this new league will be reduced. Free gym space, reusable uniforms, more volunteers and more funding from sponsors and donations will make this new league cheaper to be part of. There will also be a new app and website implemented for up-to-date information.
The panelists of those talking about this newly proposed league include Spokane Hoopfest Association Executive Director Riley Stockton, Gonzaga women’s basketball head coach Lisa Fortier, Gonzaga’s assistant men’s basketball coach Brian Michaelson, Eastern Washington men’s and women’s head coaches David Riley and Joddie Gleason, Spokane Public Schools Superintendent Adam Swineyard, head trainer of Gonzaga women’s basketball Mike Nilson and co-founder and Board Chair of Hoopfest Rick Betts.
Hooptown Youth League LLC wishes to increase the local basketball community with youth in the area. Coaches from universities in the area will donate their time and train with youth coaches, and high school coaches will help with youth programs in grade schools that feed into their respective schools.
Local high school and college basketball players will also work with kids.
There are three interrelated sessions that play into this league. Starting in September, there will be a basketball PE unit for grade schoolers in districts across the city. Then, games will be played in this new league in November and December. Finally, there will be tournaments with club and coach organized teams with more AAU events.
Players will register as individuals, not like teams in the AAU system. Teams will be formed based on skill and age level. The individual registration will help eliminate the burden of parents trying to find a team for their kids, a coach and gym space for practices.
League games will be scheduled as the season goes along to increase the competitive nature of games.
7th and 8th graders will still stay in the traditional AAU program. High school programs will run normally, but SYSA rec leagues will still be available for kids who don’t make their high school teams. Grade school kids will also be able to still play for the club team or coach they currently play for.
Hoopfest officials hope the new league will encourage kids to continue to be multi-sport athletes and bring more accessibility to basketball in the Spokane area. Almost $100,00 has already been donated to start the league.
Registration opens for the league in early September.