Published February 19, 2017 15:28
Winnipeg teens, police officers and a few Blue Bombers met on the court on Sunday for a basketball tournament designed to build bridges between law enforcement and youth.
For five years running, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg have organized the Invitational Basketball Tournament to bring the groups together for a day of basketball and bonding.
"I think it's good for them to have some relationships with police officers and see that we're human beings," said Sgt. Kevin Smith of the Winnipeg Police Service.
"If kids are playing sports and they're in school, generally speaking they don't have a lot of time to get into trouble, and I mean, that makes our job that much easier," he added.
Most years, the tournament pits police officers alone against the teens, but Smith said organizers invited a few Blue Bombers to round out the officer team to make it more exciting.
Rex Tyron said he was excited to face off against police.
"That feels awesome," he said. "Playing against someone, like, that watches me, and, like, keeps the neighbourhood safe — I feel like, I feel real special to play against them."
But he wasn't planning to pull any punches.
"I'm confident," he said. "I'm like, I'm for sure we can beat 'em, and I'll probably get a few dunks on them, too."
This year's event took place at St. Paul's High School on Sunday.