Edmonton could soon be the home to Canada’s national basketball program after city councillors voted to put $500,000 toward the plan on Monday.

Council’s executive committee endorsed the funds, but getting the program underway will depend on $1.9 million in provincial cash.

Mayor Stephen Mandel said he thinks it would be great for the city.

“Being a centre of excellence for basketball and for any sport creates opportunity for our kids and the younger generation,” he said.

If the program were to move here officials from Basketball Alberta believe it could attract international tournaments and potentially help with a pre-season Toronto Raptors game.

Mandel said even in a cash-strapped year, the province should be able to find the funds for an initiative that would bring people to the city and promote healthy living.

“Their budget is $42 billion. I am sure we can find ways to find how we can fit into this package.”

Paul Sir, executive director of Basketball Alberta said bringing the entire program together was something he encouraged the national program to do.

“Why not move the whole national team program here and create that synergy, that camaraderie that successful national programs have.”

Sir said when he showed representatives from Basketball Canada the facilities at the Saville Centre, it was clear the facility would be an ideal fit.

“The reason why (we chose) Edmonton in the end is that there is no other place in Canada can do what the Saville Centre can do.”

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