The Greater Essex County District School Board and the Windsor Express of the N.B.L. have been friends for some time now, but they had never had a date, until this February, when the Express invited the school board over for a game at the WFCU Centre.
GECDSB Night began in the late afternoon when elementary girls' and boys' basketball teams from Hetherington PS and Tecumseh Vista Academy played a couple games on the professional court.
The players, many of their parents and their coaches came back for the Express game that evening against the Sudbury 5, along with hundreds of other students, families and staff from around the Board who took advantage of special ticket pricing offered by the Express to everyone in the GECDSB.
The Board used the opportunity to say "Thanks" to the many men and women who volunteer their time and energy to coach school sports at both the elementary and high school levels. Following a wonderful rendition of the national anthem by Lakeshore Discovery student Bray Belanger, veteran basketball coach Michael Oddy and M.D. Bennie coach Jason Douma presided over the ceremonial opening tip off (pictured, left).
During the first quarter break, all coaches were publicly honoured with presentations to Donna Turner, a teacher from David Maxwell PS and Rob Vidamour, a parent who has been coaching at Central PS for the past 7 years (pictured, right with Director of Education Erin Kelly). Those 2 coaches represented all the others who provide sports and athletic opportunities to young people throughout Windsor and Essex County.
At halftime students from the Walkerville Centre for the Creative Arts entertained the crowd with some songs, previewing their production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang being staged at Walkerville Collegiate Institute.
It was a great night out for everyone in the GECDSB and to make things even better, the Express survived a late rally by Sudbury to win the game 119-114.