Kosterman excited to play close to home

Langley's Jack Kosterman has played for Canada in the past, but will suit up for Team Fraser Valley for first time at B.C. Winter Games

He has represented his province and his country, but never has Jack Kosterman suited up for the Fraser Valley zone.

But that will change this week as the 15-year-old from Langley will lead Team Fraser Valley in wheelchair basketball at the B.C. Winter Games.

The Games are being held in Mission — with a few other sites, such as the Walnut Grove Aquatic Centre in Langley — from Feb. 20 to 23. See story below for full list of local athletes.

And while the athletes are all the same age, Kosterman looks forward to sharing his vast experience with the squad’s younger players.

Kosterman played for Canada in September at the world junior (U23) wheelchair basketball championships in Turkey, as Canada finished sixth.

He has also previously competed at the 2011 Canada Games competition and a pair of Western Canadian championships.

“It is the first step towards a competitive environment for them,” he said.

“It is always exciting to play with new players and show some leadership skills and help them develop the best I can.”

And while travelling east through the Fraser Valley isn’t as glamourous as hopping a plane and heading to another country, but Kosterman doesn’t mind.

“Playing close to home is nice,” he said.

“Travelling is great but every once in a while it is nice to play in your home province and get an opportunity for some family and friends to watch.”

The majority of the Team B.C. players — including Kosterman — are all members of the Langley Gold Rush, with Kosterman. The Gold Rush are a club basketball program.

This is the start of a busy stretch for Kosterman.

Earlier this month he was named to Team B.C. for the 2014 junior wheelchair basketball championships. They will be held March 28 to 30 in Edmonton.

Kosterman, who one day dreams of playing for Canada at the Paralympics, says it can be challenging playing a high-level sport while balancing the demands of everyday life.

“But basketball comes first in my life, it is what I want to do so it is the priority all the time,” he said.

Kosterman is a Grade 10 student at Langley Fine Arts School.

“School isn’t too tough (and) as long as I keep on top of it, I don’t fall too behind,” he said.

Langley Times