Hoonah, Alaska (KINY) - Goldbelt Transportation's new vessel, the Goldbelt Seawolf, was filled with basketball players, a team of tax accountants and representativesf rom Sealaska and UAS.
Officials said the trip was a partnership between Icy Strait Point, Goldbelt, Inc., and organizers of the Chichagof Classic.
In addition to bringing basketball players, the event helped the community deal with the impact of reductions in ferry service this winter.
The 8th annual basketball tournament is now underway.
Tournament organizers said they were concerned about so many teams trying to fly into the Hoonah Airport during unpredictable weather, “People come from all over the state for this tournament,” said Jessie Martin, tournament organizer. “We worried that not everyone would be able to make it into town to play, and the potential for families to get stranded halfway to Hoonah. This is our biggest tournament ever, in the middle of the ferry crisis, and the support from Goldbelt and Icy Strait Point has really helped everything come together. There’s a lot of excitement about this partnership, and the good that we see our Native organizations stepping up to do for our communities.”
The vessel also included a shipment of groceries and supplies for the community.
They also included a team of income tax experts to help the rural community file federal income taxes.
Of course, basketball will be a huge thrill for the community to enjoy.
“Our community thrives on the relationships our native organizations help grow and maintain,” said Tasha Heumann, Sealaska Brand Manager and tournament participant. “Basketball tournaments are real cultural events that help connect our people and communities. I’m thrilled everything came together to make this event possible – it’s our baby son’s first time visiting Hoonah, and it’s so important to our family that he connects with his culture.”
Goldbelt Transportation provides service to and from the Kensington gold mine daily, but with the addition of the Goldbelt Seawolf to the fleet, hopes to expand operations and increase service throughout the southeast region. “Reliable, effective transportation solutions are vital to doing business and just living life here in Southeast Alaska,” said Clint Songer, General Manager of Goldbelt Transportation LLC. “Luckily, we’re able to be agile in working together to meet those needs – in this case, our partnership was truly a slam dunk for everyone involved.”