Two annual golf tournaments are critical to the financial health of the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame.
This summer, the organization was unable to hold the 10th annual scramble at the Aroostook Valley Country Club in Fort Fairfield or the Southern Maine Golf Tournament at the Bath Golf Club.
Enter the First National Bank of Bar Harbor and the Kebo Valley Club, which have stepped forward to help the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame by sponsoring a fall tournament on Mount Desert Island.
The event, which will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame, will be held Saturday, Oct. 10, at Kebo Valley Golf Club.
The four-person scramble will have a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start and costs $80 per person. Proceeds will go to the hall of fame and Acadian Youth Sports, which supports youngsters in Hancock County.
Skip Chappelle, a member of the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame Board of Directors and one of its inaugural inductees, said the tournament at Aroostook Valley was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic because the Canadian government closed the course, located mostly in Canada, to American players.
The Bath tourney fell through in part because of health issues experienced by the primary organizer.
Chappelle said he began making phone calls to see if any other courses might be interested in hosting a tournament. He reached out to Jon Nicholson, the past president of Kebo Valley and the senior vice president of First National Bank in Bar Harbor.
Nicholson, who is still on Kebo’s board of directors and that of Acadian Youth Sports, quickly offered to help.
“It’s exciting,” Nicholson said. “It’s a pretty good marriage. [Acadian Youth Sports] does travel basketball and had a virtual camp this summer so there is a connection there. And our golf camp took right off this year. We had around 40 kids.”
First National Bank was already a sponsor of the hall and Acadian Youth Sports.
The fledgling Maine Basketball Hall of Fame held its first fundraising tournament at Kebo Valley in 2010 as part of the K.C. Jones/Mount Desert Island YMCA Basketball Week.
Nicholson explained that Acadian Youth Sports also had a fundraising tournament cancelled and also was in need of support. He said Kebo Valley pro Pieter DeVos has been helpful throughout the process.
“[Things] just fell into place. Jon was great. The First National Bank has been very good to us,” Chappelle said.
Chappelle said the hall of fame lost approximately $20,000 as a result of cancelling its two tournaments but the organization remains on solid financial standing.
“We’re still soliciting funds to maintain the hallways [for its displays in the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor],” Chappelle said. “And we do need funding for our two projects: the winter basketball classic in December and the Unified basketball classic in March. The Unified classic is huge for us. There is tremendous interest in it.”
Last December, the hall of fame hosted a two-day high school basketball event at the Cross Insurance Center. It involved 28 teams after four canceled because of a snowstorm.
The planned Unified Classic, a one-day, six-team affair with three games at the Memorial Gym in Orono, was called off in March due to the pandemic. Chappelle would like to move it to the Cross Insurance Center.
He admitted both events are up in the air because of the coronavirus.
Chappelle said the mission of the hall of fame is to recognize worthy individuals who have impacted Maine basketball. It already includes more than 150 honorees.
This summer’s induction ceremony was postponed until 2021.
Those interested in signing up for the golf tournament at Kebo Valley may do so by visiting www.mainebasketballhalloffame.com.