SACKVILLE, NB – A team of young basketball players from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are back home Monday evening, after running into problems with their hotel rooms at a weekend tournament in New Jersey.
The players, from the Halifax and Saint John areas, are aged eight to 15 and are part of the We Will Win community program for at-risk youth. They had traveled to Neptune City, NJ Friday by bus to play in the Under Armour Hoop Group Jr. Jam Fest.
However, when they arrived at the Crowne Plaza hotel, they found their reservation for 17 rooms had been cancelled, and no one had notified them.
“There were about 50 of us there with our three teams,” Wanda Arab, a parent from North Preston, N.S. said.”They were doing absolutely nothing to accommodate us.”
Arab said the team had been travelling for nearly 17 hours on a bus and they were all exhausted.
“We were standing around, laying around on the ground with pillows, with comforters, with anything,” she said, adding some of the kids ended up sleeping on suitcases in the hotel lobby.
The group had made their reservation and paid through Hotwire.com back in August, the team’s coach Colter Simmonds said, and no one contacted them to say there was a problem. They had also booked five rooms at a Holiday Inn and had no problems with those reservations.
We have provided a full refund to Mr. Simmonds and have apologized to the players as well as the organizers of the We Will Win Foundation.”
But Simmonds said the team doesn’t believe it’s enough. He says they were in the Crowne Plaza lobby until after midnight trying to book other hotel rooms for Friday and Saturday and said Hotwire didn’t help them. The team also ended up forfeiting their first game Saturday morning.
“This is not gonna go away until everybody feels that we’ve been properly taken care of,” he said, adding he plans to follow up with Hotwire.
The team left New Jersey Sunday afternoon, instead of staying the night as they had planned because they didn’t want to deal with the hassle of trying to find rooms again.
Simmonds said the kids had worked very hard to go on the trip, fundraising $5,000.
Despite the set-back, he was pleased with how they played. The Under-12 team were the champions for their age group and North Preston player Romero Smith was named the tournament’s most valuable player.