At least six teams signed up for local basketball tournament

Pearl Lorentzen

Lakeside Leader

Evan Mellsen has been organizing drop-in basketball in Slave Lake for around 16 years. Now, he’s working with two local businesses to offer tournaments.

Drop-in basketball and the tournaments are for 16+

“We get anywhere between 15 and 30 usually,” says Mellsen. This is mostly guys, but women are also welcome.

Players range in age from 16 to 50. The older players often don’t play the full two hours, but spend some of the time watching.

Asked why he organizes basketball events, Mellsen says, “I just have a passion for it. I started in middle school.”

Mellsen is a teacher at St. Mary of the Lake Catholic School in Slave Lake. At times, through the years of organizing drop-in basketball it’s just been him and a few others. Recently, he’s connected with the local Filipino community.

“It’s the most popular sport in the Philippines,” say Mellsen.

Some of the local Filipino basketball fans own businesses in Slave Lake – Byte Hub and MSG Apparel. Mellsen has joined forces with these two companies to put on Slave Lake Inter-City Basketball Tournament on June 24 and 25 at St. Mary’s.

Byte Hub is on Main St. Slave Lake and is a place to drop-in to play board games, sing karaoke, and drink milk shakes. It opened this winter. MSG Apparel is an even newer Slave Lake business. They make custom sports jerseys and other sports related items.

The collaboration has worked well, says Mellsen. “I think that’s why it’s taken off.”

This will be the third and biggest basketball tournament in Slave Lake in the last year. In the fall, Mellsen organized a small tournament which ran over a few weeks. This spring Byte Hub organized one in connection with a Filipino comedian coming to Slave Lake.

The organizers went with inter-city because they invited teams from High Prairie, Edmonton, Edson, Grande Prairie, Whitecourt, etc.

As of May 15, six Slave Lake teams had signed up, says Mellsen. There were eight teams committed and possibly four more.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” says Mellsen. “It’ll be very competitive.”

The tournament will be all day both days, with lots of games. There may also be some local businesses there selling food. Spectators can come and watch.

People wanting to come to drop-in basketball can go to the gym door at the back of St. Mary’s school most Sundays from 4 to 6 p.m. There is a nominal drop-in fee, which goes toward athletics at the school.

People wanting more information about the tournament or drop-in can email Mellsen at

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