Saje Gosal has been playing basketball since he was a young kid in Golden.
On Thursday afternoon, he got to show his team, the University of Northern B.C. (UNBC) Timberwolves, a glimpse of what life is like in his home town.
Before each season, the team takes a small retreat to a different community in B.C. to practise and enjoy leisurely activities before beginning another school year and competitive season.
“Every year, we start out our season with some kind of retreat training camp, and get together so that our new incoming players can get to know the returning guys, and it’s just kind of a good way to start the year for us,” said coach Todd Jordan, adding that in the past the team has visited Terrace, Valemount, and Sun Peaks. “We’ve done it in a number of various places throughout the years… So basically, we like to try some years to get out to a place where we’ve obviously got some connections, and with [Gosal] being on our team for a couple of years it made sense to come to Golden.”
The team stayed in a house up at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, and took in the ski hill, and went on a couple of hikes, including one trip to Gorman Lake. On August 30, the team practised at Golden Secondary School and played some games for spectators to see what the competition has in store for the upcoming year.
“It’s just to give the guys an opportunity to check out something they wouldn’t normally see,” Gosal said. “We have guys from all over the world, from the Ukraine, from Greece, and the U.S. and out east in Toronto, so it is nice for everybody to see something a little different from what they’re used to and see kind of how I grew up.”
Gosal began playing basketball with the Golden Basketball Association when he was young, and went on to play in high school at Golden Secondary School.
“As I was moving through my high school years, I started having an interest in playing post secondary, and I met with a lot of different coaches, including coach [Jordan] with some connections from Golden actually, and we made a connection. I decided to come up and continue playing basketball.”
From there, he researched different post secondary schools with good basketball programs, and began attending UNBC for political sciences. He has been studying and playing basketball at the university for three years, and at 21 years old, is the shooting guard for his team.
In the early 2000s, another Golden native, Jari Deutsch, played for the Timberwolves, and coach Jordan said they played together for a number of years. Deutsch was a big promoter of the program, and while Gosal was looking at a number of different schools, his name came across Jordan’s desk. Since high school graduation in 2015, Gosal has played for the Timberwolves.
Every so often, different basketball teams will gather in Golden for practices. Gosal remembers when he was younger, he would go out to watch the University of Calgary team when they visited town.
“It is cool to get some basketball at this kind of level out here,” Gosal said. “A few other schools did some training camp type things out here, and I would get a chance to go out and watch, so it is kind of cool for me to come back and put something similar on and have some kids come out and watch as well. It’s nice for me to bring this level of basketball in here.”