Bolstered by the addition of some out-of-town fastball talent, the Prince George River Kings and Big Guy Lake Reds hope to use the home field to their advantage this weekend in the John Cho Cup tournament, which starts Friday at Spruce City Stadium.
The River Kings and Reds are among 13 men’s teams in the race to advance to Sunday’s 3:30 p.m. final.
The Canadian Native Fastball champion STK Moby Cornette Rippers of Vanderhoof will be back to defend their John Cho Cup men’s crown.
“The tournament is unique in the fact that northern Indigenous teams such as Nak'azdli, Saik'uz, Witset, Lake Babine and Takla are on the same field as the top-10 (nationally) ranked Grande Prairie Pirates,” said tournament organizer Sheldon Bjorklund.
Other teams in the men’s mix include the Saddle Lake Warriors and the Pukaist Heat.
The tournament also will have seven teams in the U23 division and six in the women’s division.
Three Prince George women’s teams – Aunties, Prince George Thunderbirds and Frost Lake Devils will compete against the Alexander Rampage, Sqwlax Saints and The Dreams.
“Alexander Rampage is coming from Alberta with a squad of girls that have been putting in the work with a roster that includes the best Indigenous players in Northern Alberta,” said Bjorklund.
The U-23 division includes Big Guy Lake Jr Reds of Prince George, Nak'azdli Rez Sox, Saik'uz Jr Tigers, Okanese Sask. Team BC U-19s, Fleetwood and the Terrace Mariners U-17s.
Okanese and Team BC played in last year’s North American Indigenous Games and Terrace will compete this year in the U-17 national championship.
Games start Friday at 4 p.m.