The 58th annual Snowball Classic basketball tournament kicks off in one week.

Snowball Classic returns to the hardwood

58th annual basketball tournament tips off at Abbotsford Senior in one week

The 58th annual Snowball Classic basketball tournament tips off in one week’s time, with a special guest club from Toronto challenging some of the top teams from across B.C.

The St. Michael’s College Blue Raiders are the marquee team at the 2018 event, and the defending Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations AAA champions open the tournament on Thursday, Jan. 18 inside the gym at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.

The Blue Raiders also won provincial gold in 2013 and 2015, and are currently ranked second in Ontario in their conference.

The 2017 champions Walnut Grove Gators (fifth, AAAA) and the runners-up from Kelowna (honourable mention AAAA) are back for 2018, with Walnut Grove receiving a bye. Kelowna opens against Yale on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. Also receiving a bye into round two are the Burnaby South Rebels, who are ranked fourth in the AAAA conference and Brentwood.

The host Abbotsford Panthers kick off the event when they battle the Robert Bateman Timberwolves on Wednesday, Jan. 17 at 12:30 p.m.

Other local teams competing at the Snowball Classic include: the W.J. Mouat Hawks (sixth, AAAA), the MEI Eagles and the Yale Lions.

Mouat opens at 9 a.m. on Thursday against North Delta, and MEI takes on St. George’s on Thursday at 10:45 a.m.

Games run all day Thursday and Friday, with the Snowball champions set to be crowned on Saturday, Jan. 20 at 8 p.m.

For more information on the event, visit snowballbasketball.com.

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