Danielle Park memorial tournament brings in $5,300 for scholarship in her honour

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Grand Manan – Danielle Park is remembered as being a kind, vibrant, young woman with a passion for basketball.

The 4th Annual Danielle Park 3-on-3 Memorial Basketball Tournament took place at the Grand Manan Community School last Friday and Saturday to remember Park, who died from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident on July 13, 2014.

Park, who was the valedictorian for the class of 2014, had been accepted to Mount Alison University, and was selected to play for the Mount Alison Mounties.

The annual tournament in Park’s honour, held at the Grand Manan Community School (GMCS), began Friday with the high school division, while the men’s and women’s were underway Saturday. Teams from Grand Manan, Saint Andrews, McAdam, and Fredericton participated.

Kate Scott/Courier Heilynn Clinch keeps her eye on the net, heavily guarded by Mackenzie Russell (left) and Jesse Middleton Friday during the high school division of the 4th Annual Danielle Park 3-on-3 Memorial Basketball Tournament.

Amanda Russell, GMCS athletic director and an organizer for the tournament, said $5,300 was raised to go to the Danielle Park Memorial Scholarship from the silent auction, T-Shirt sales, barbecue, and 50/50 draw.

A total of 26 teams participated in the tournament, with 11 high school teams, eight in the men’s division, and seven in the women’s.

She acknowledged the overwhelming support from those in attendance, as well as the businesses on the island, which donated all of the items for the silent auction.

“Every single silent auction item came from business on the island, and we raised $2,000 alone from the silent auction.”

Winners of the high school division were Dawson Boon, Dylan Brown, and Owen Savage, while Laura Fowler, Alexis Liston, and Russell took the women’s crown, and Brett Curtis, Trevor Corey, Sam Drummond, and Alex Bennett nabbed first in the men’s division.

“And that’s passion, right? You can’t coach that; you can’t teach that, it’s in your heart. And that’s what this tournament is about. – Amanda Russell

Prior to the start of the tournament Friday, Russell shared an anecdote about Park.

Russell told of a text message she received from Park during a warm, sunny day after graduation, asking her to work out.

“She was always bugging me to work out, and I mean that in the best way,” Russell said, and added the two went to the school after graduation to exercise to find the stage still out, and several mats on the gymnasium floor from the ceremony.

“You could still shoot on the main net, but obviously there were heavy mats everywhere.”

Russell went on to say “Every high school student that I know when they walk in and saw those mats, and some university girls I played with, would’ve said, ‘oh, the mats are out, we’ll come back when they’re put away’,” she recounted, and with a slight smile, added, “I’m pretty sure that’s what came out of my mouth.”

“She was like, ‘nope, we’re going to haul up all these mats’,” Russell recounted, and said the two of them put away the mats to use the gym.

“And that’s passion, right? You can’t coach that; you can’t teach that, it’s in your heart. And that’s what this tournament is about. That’s what I want to see [at the tournament]. I want you helping your teammates up; I want you helping your opponents up.”

Kate Scott/Courier
A heavily guarded Alyssa Sprague is shut down by Glendon Vautour on her way to the net during a tournament Friday at the Grand Manan Community School to honour the memory of Danielle Park.

Russell then invited Parks’ father, Mike Parks to address those in attendance.

Danielle’s father thanked those in attendance, saying “without you, this tournament doesn’t happen. This tournament is huge for my family and for the memory of Danielle.”

“This was her life; eat, sleep, ball was her mantra, and she loved the game,” he said, adding all of the money raised at the tournament goes to the scholarship fund in his daughter’s honour.

“We’re almost at the $60,000 mark for three years, so it’s pretty impressive.

“A huge part of that goes to the efforts of Amanda; she takes this tournament and the high school one [which takes place during the high school basketball season, also in Park’s honour] right by the horns and she wants to make sure Danielle’s legacy lives on, and she’s done a fantastic job doing that.”