36th annual Winnipeg Invitational Basketball Tournament (W.I.T.) will take
place at Tec Voc High School (1555 Wall Street) from February 9-12.  The tournament will feature the top local varsity boys basketball
teams versus top teams from Ontario & BC. Tournament passes are $7 each and can be picked up at Tec Voc High School (786-1401).  Other highlights of the tournament include the Chicken Delight Dunk contest, NBA
2-Ball contest and the Three Point Sharp Shooting Contest.  Follow all the game results in the Basketball Manitoba SCOREBOARD!  For a preview of the tournament including the game schedule...

Other high school tournaments are bigger and some have been around
longer, but none match the Winnipeg Invitational Tournament for the
combined package of quality, tradition and prestige. In 1974, a small
group of basketball crazy coaches and teachers conceived the idea for
WIT. When it made its debut two years later, WIT was immediately the
crown jewel of high school hoops.

The first four years of the event featured an American team and the
tournament was actually known as the Winnipeg International Tournament.
In addition to American teams, WIT now hosts teams from Nova Scotia to
British Columbia.  Over time, the Winnipeg School Division became less
involved in the tournament and Tec Voc High School took it under its

While there’s no questioning the calibre of basketball WIT has
provided, equally impressive is the job Tec Voc has done in playing host
to the event. The many students, teachers, and volunteers assist in
putting on a spectacle that includes banners, photos, video, internet
statistics, half time events, and so much more.

The 2011 Winnipeg Invitational Tournament is fast
approaching, and Tec Voc is anxiously looking forward to hosting this
phenomenal tournament from February 9-12, 2011.  Tec Voc is proud to welcome the
following teams to the 2011 Tournament:


Winnipeg Invitational Tournament draw is now available. Click on the image below for a printable version [pdf].



Here is the exciting line-up for WIT: (Schedule at the bottom)


Kelvin Clippers

The 2010 – 2011, Kelvin Clippers is looking
to be one of the most talented basketball team in school history. They come
into this years WIT championships as one of the top ranked teams in the
province.  Coached by Chris Young, the
Clippers have a strong core of returning players losing only one significant
player from last years Junior Varsity Provincial Championship team.  Coach Young has four of his starters from
last year returning, and five returning players. The team is led by the
dominant presence of Michael Thorne-Finch. Michael is a 6’6 post who is a great
rebounder, shot blocker, with outstanding footwork. He played a significant
role this past summer on the Manitoba provincial team, and recently had a
try-out with the Under 17 National Basketball team.  Another player to watch is Kristjan
Lamont.  He is in grade 11, who stands at
6’5, and is the most versatile player on the team.  With a high basketball I.Q. Kristjan also
played on the Manitoba’s provincial team this past summer.  Having great depth and experience, the Kelvin
Clippers will look to play a fast-tempo style, pushing the ball at all
opportunities and playing tenacious full-court defense.



The Sisler Spartans have proclaimed
themselves as the most exciting team in the city of Winnipeg. They are no
strangers to the WIT last competing in the tournament in 2008.  With eight returning players and two
returning starters, the Spartans are looking to continue their aggressive,
up-tempo style of play.  With a group of
hard working individuals the Spartans have put together a competitive team led
by the coaching of Scott Martin.  Coach
Martin has identified Akida Lewis and Kevin Huong as players to look out
for.  Akida is a 6’4 scoring machine that
is relentless and hard working.  He is
able to score himself or set up teammates for easy baskets.  Kevin is a straight up hard working player
who can be a threat at both ends of the court. He is able to use size and foot
speed to create easy transition points for his teammates.  Look for Sisler to use high energy defensive
play to stop teams and perimeter players to overwhelm teams on their way to the
2011 WIT championship.


River East Kodiaks

Another team not a stranger to the WIT
tournament is the River East Kodiaks. 
Their one year absence from the tournament enabled the team to focus
their hard work and talents on achieving a season record of 22 wins and 8
losses last year.  Entering the
tournament, the Kodiaks have lost all five starters from last season. However,
there are still five returning players from last year, and one being Bryce
Kraushar. Bryce was the team’s leading scorer, averaging 14.2 ppg last season
despite not starting. This year, the 6’5 Senior is looking to continue his hard
working attitude to help the Kodiaks to a WIT championship. Another player to
look out for is the returning big man, Tate Hiebert, who is great on the boards
and a tremendous shot blocker.  With
experienced coaches and the willingness to compete, the River East Kodiaks will
be a team surely to look out for in this year’s WIT championship.

St. Paul’s Crusaders

Last year The St. Paul’s Crusaders placed
fourth over all in the WIT championships. This year, coach Jeff Laping is
looking to take his team all the way to the top.  With one starter returning from last year,
and a total of 7 returning players, the Crusaders have established a foundation
of experience that they look to use as they compete in this year’s
championship. One player looking to lead the team this year is Joey Nitychoruk.  Joey is a grade 12, 6’6” athletic forward who
was named 2nd team all Canadian at the 2010 nationals in Winnipeg. A
hard worker over all, he can be a dominant player on both ends of the floor,
which creates difficulty for some teams. 
Quin Roberston is another player on the Crusader team to look out
for.  Quinn is a 5’10” point guard, with
good shooting range. He looks to use his quickness to beat defenders and create
shot opportunities for himself and teammates. 
The Crusaders also have grade 11 players who are experienced and are no
strangers to high-level competition. 
Overall, look for St. Paul’s to use team defense and well executed
transition offense to make their mark in this year’s WIT Championship.


Grant Park Pirates

The returning Grant Park Pirates look to
defend their title in this year’s WIT championships.  The victory came over the heavily favored Oak
Park Raiders.  This victory was the first
time Grant Park ever won the WIT.  Coach
Russ Lemay look to repeat their efforts by utilizing the experience and
competitive drive this years’ team brings. 
Losing two key starters, one being ranked 2nd in the
province, Grant Park is looking forward to its current group of young talented
players to pick up exactly where they left off last year.  Look for Sylvester Alexander, Austin Grant,
and Joe Blanco to lead the team on their quest of the repeat.  With all three players having played in last
years final, they know what atmosphere is to be expected in only what the WIT
championship can bring.  Sylvester
Alexander is a 6’4” floor general that fuels the Pirates.  He incorporates long range shooting with
excellent ball handling.  Austin Grant
has proven himself as an excellent 3pt shooter. Grant Park also counts on him
to play great defense.  Joe Blanco is Mr.
Versatile giving you a little bit of the inside and outside. The Pirates enjoy
up tempo basketball with a lot of full court pressure.  With hard work and determination, look for
the Grant Park Pirates to return to the WIT championships as the team to beat.


Vincent Massey Trojans

The Vincent Massey Trojans is the only
local team that has not competed in the WIT championships in over 10
years.  Their last entry to the
tournament was back in 1999 where they ended up as consolation champions. Fast
forwarding to this year, the Trojans are looking to end up on the other side of
the bracket.  With a young team on his
hands, coach Gus Wantanabe is looking to compete with an aggressive style of
play, and hard work.  Look for Matt Ivey,
a 6’2” forward to lead the team.  Matt is
a tall wing whose versatility makes him difficult to defend.  He is able to play many roles that help his
team not only on the offensive end of the basketball court, but also on the
defensive end by the use of his quickness and footwork.  Another player to watch for is Otto
Santizo-Leps who is the Trojans’ point guard. 
With outstanding court vision and deceptive hands Otto is able to create
scoring opportunities both for himself and for other teammates.  As the WIT Championships unfold, look for the
Vincent Massey Trojan’s to play hard and together.


Holy Cross Crusaders

All the way from Surrey B.C., the Holy
Cross Crusaders look to make their mark in their first ever WIT Championship
experience. In league play last year, the Crusaders finished 3rd in
the playoff and received a berth to the provincial championships.  Being in the provincial finals, Holy Cross
return 8 players who have gained the experience of high level basketball that
is necessary to become a championship calibar team. They will be a top 10
ranked team throughout the season and compete for the provincial championship
and Valley championships come end of season. 
A player to look out for in this year’s WIT championships is Luke Ehman.
Luke is a 6’0” explosive player who is quick and loves to run.  He has great ball handling and energy that
fuels his team on both ends of the court. 
Averaging 16 ppg. look for Luke to score, but also use the rest of his
teammates to make things happen.  One
teammate in particular is Richard Bos. 
Richard is a smooth player who loves to run.  A passionate player who works hard and never
quits, this 6’6” player is definitely one to look out for.  Coach Matthew LeChasseur look to play an up
tempo style basketball with hard nose defense. 
The team prides on being discipline, being energetic, and having players
who are willing to meet challenges.


St. Ignatius Falcons

The St. Ignatius Falcons may be from out of
town, but are surely no strangers to the WIT Championships. Being a returning
team from last year, the Falcons have experienced the level of competitive
drive teams bring into the competition. 
With an impressive 22 wins and 4 losses last season, including
tournaments, the Falcons are looking to use that winning momentum into this
season. Although being a young team, coach Dino Buset is confident in his team
to challenge for city title.  Being as
athletic as they are, this is also the tallest team to ever take the floor for
the Falcons.  The team’s average starting
line measures in at 6’2”.  Despite having
only 1 starter returning, and 3 total players from last year, do not
underestimate the Falcon’s line up.  Look
for Eric Trevisan, who is a 6’4” power forward. Being the most improved player
from last season and now has stepped into the role of team captain, Eric is a
smart basketball player who excels in both the offensive and defensive ends of
the court.  Skyler Milkovich is another
player to watch in this year’s WIT championships.  With natural athletic ability, and their
quickest player on the team, Skyler is best known for his lock down defensive
ability.  Look for the St. Ignatius
Falcon’s to play an up tempo game, showcasing athleticism and team play


Sir Winston Churchill CVI


Sir Winston Churchill Trojans were last
seen in the WIT Championships back in 2009. 
With a one year absence from the tournament, the Trojan’s have
established a basketball presence in their league, placing 2nd in
league play, and winning city / region championships.  With 10 returning players and 4 returning
starters, coach Cory Keeler look to repeat their accomplishments this
year.  Establishing particular ground
roots, and gaining elite level basketball experience, the Trojans look to
compete in the finals again this year. Entering the WIT, look for the Trojan’s
to bring a certain level of basketball that teams need to prepare for.  Players to look out for are Brandon Myketa –
Parlor, and Tim Baxter to name a few. 
Brandon is a 6’3” player who earned the distinction of “player of the
year” last year.  He is an offensive
player who explosive to the basket.  He
is good with both hands and has the ability to shoot. Tim Baxter, is a 5’10”
lock down defender.  Count on Tim to
challenge any offensive player on or off the ball.  Not only does his team depend on him fro
defense, he is also a 3pt specialist. 
With players who can score and defend, the Trojan’s look to play up
tempo basketball.  Look for constant
motion in their offense and teamwork as a key on defense. Also because the
Trojan’s have a deep bench, look for quick rotations to play quicker.


Tec Voc Hornets.

This years Tec Voc Hornets consist of young
energetic players, who work hard and have been improving since the start of the
season.  Emphasizing teamwork, the
Hornets will look to play a disciplined style of defense and offense.  Ball Control and pressure defense will be the
Hornets key to success.  Players to watch
include Jonah Cabinit, Jamie Gannile, and Jordan Fontaine.  Jonah is a 5’9” guard who is quick and can
shoot the ball well.  Having a quick
first step, Jonah is able to create shot opportunities for himself, and other
teammates.  Jamie G. is another quick
player on the Hornet team. With a play tough and smart attitude, Jamie works
hard on offense, and even harder on defense. 
Look for Jamie to be the Hornets fuel for intensity.  Jordan Fontaine is the Hornets shooter.  With the ability to find open spots, Jordan
is able to hit the midrange and the deep three. 
Along with the coaching staff and players, the Tec Voc Hornets have a
boisterous fan base that teams need to watch out for.  With great support, the Tec Voc fans are
slowly gaining the reputation of being the loudest in town.  Look for the Hornet Dome to erupt as the
Hornet’s prepare to take on the teams of WIT. “Play hard, together, and smart”
– Coach Garth McAlpine.


There will be many other activities throughout the tournament including a three point sharp shooting contest and of course the “Lord of the Rim Dunk Contest” at half time of the final game on Saturday night.

More on the tournament is at


Every successful marriage, friendship, business or long-running event has an element of  “How did we make it so far?” As we mark the thirty fifth anniversary of the Winnipeg Invitational Basketball Tournament, organizers marvel at the longevity and on-going quality of the event.

  “It’s been an outstanding tournament over the years,” says Ken Opalko, a player in the first tournament and a coach over the years. “We were very excited to be in that very first one.”

  Those present at the first WIT give credit for its inception to Clyde Perry, the principal of Tec Voc, who got the ball rolling in 1974. “Without Clyde Perry to start the whole thing, it wouldn’t have happened,” says fellow founder Bill Wedlake. Perry worked with Wedlake, Garry Gruebert, Wally Chubaty, E.M. Bradshaw,Larry Marquardson, and Rick Bender to create the WIT, and the first tournament happened in 1976. The goal was to show local fans the best in high school basketball across Canada, and, at the time, the Midwestern United States.

  The tournament was a success from the start. The Hornet Dome, now the Audrey Jones Fieldhouse, was packed with basketball fans who knew the WIT was going to be something special. “It’s the best high school basketball tournament in Winnipeg, there’s no doubt,” says Scott Martin, a former player, WIT committee member, Tec Voc Coach and current coach of the Sisler Spartans.

  Fans throughout the years have agreed with him. Although some thought the crowds were drawn by American teams, the stands were packed after 1980, when the tournament became an all Canadian event. This was also the first year a local team decided to walk all over the competitors from out of Manitoba. The St. John’s Tigers won the tournament that year. WIT founder Wedlake was the coach of that team. “We beat quality teams,” he says. “I don’t think people expected us to win.”

  In 1984, the tournament changed format again from an eight team event to a sixteen team arrangement. With this many teams, it was necessary to have the facilities at Tec Voc, Daniel Mac and St. Johns. However, the tournament was always primarily held at Tec Voc, and came home for the final games. In 1989 it returned to Tec Voc becoming a six team round robin contest. This lasted only two years, however, and from 1991 on, the WIT has been in its present format: ten teams guaranteed three games each, playing at Tec Voc where players consider facilities among the best in the province. However, it’s not just the facilities and players that lead to the tournament’s success.

  “The whole Tec Voc School gets involved,” says Opalko. That’s a very special thing, from ticket sellers, to people at the door, to half time entertainment, to those setting up the tournament. This involvement on the part of Tec Voc, and the ready access to the resources of Tec Voc’s shop courses, such as commercial cooking, photography, advertising art, and graphic arts, mean the WIT can be as much a festival as a tournament. The involvement and accomplishments of individual teams and players can be celebrated and acknowledged. “Clyde saw it as so much more than, Let’s shoot some hoops and send some numbers in to the Free Press,” says Wedlake.

  Todd MacCulloch, the most successful product of the Manitoba High School Basketball System, who played for the Philadelphia 76er’s and New Jersey Nets remembers WIT as a major highlight of his High School Basketball career.

  He called WIT “the biggest tournament in the province and THE tournament to win.” He recalls that “ you won (WIT) you were in good shape to win the Provincial Championship tournament.” Which is what he did, as a member of the Shaftsbury Titans. Todd won back to back WIT titles in 1993 and 1994.

  One of the things that make the WIT “so much more” is the ready involvement of the Radio Television and Broadcasting Department, which has had students shoot the tournament for thirteen years. This year the RTB department, in partnership with the ITS department, will be broadcasting live over streaming video on the Internet and for the last two games live on Shaw Cable. This is a new step for the course, which has more than three dozen students produce their broadcast. “It’s really exciting,” says student Jen Challoner, “everything we’ve always learnt is put into practice.”

  “The idea was to provide Winnipeg teams with a chance to compete with the best,” Clyde Perry says of the WIT. Tec Voc and the WIT committee are proud to say that original goal has never changed, despite alterations in format and location.

  The last four years have been the best attended tournaments. During these years there has been a Winnipeg team versus an American team in the final and the fans have flocked in to see these games.

  After thirty five years, it’s still producing and proudly displaying great high school basketball for fans and a wonderful opportunity for players and coaches to come out and compete.

More on the tournament is at

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