The Gold Medal Basketball Tournament was canceled on Friday, Mar. 13, due to ongoing concerns over the COVID-19 virus.
Every year, hundreds of people flock to Juneau from neighboring villages and communities to attend. This would have been the 74th year players gathered from across Southeast Alaska to compete, and it’s the first time this event has been canceled.
Edward Hotch, the President of the Lions Club, says the games are an especially popular sport for elders, who travel annually to cheer for their favorite teams.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older adults and people with chronic medical conditions are at a higher risk of getting very sick from coronavirus.
Hotch says that factored in to the decision to cancel the tournament.
“It’s kind of a sad feeling because you were getting ready to see people you haven’t seen since last year,” Hotch said.
Gold Medal is a fundraiser for the Lions Club, which donates ticket sales to scholarships, local nonprofits and high school sports teams.
Hotch says the event has sold about 100 tickets so far. The Lions Club is still discussing how to refund the tickets.