The 7th Andre Blanleil Sr. Memorial Fastpitch Tournament returns to Kelowna this Father’s Day weekend at King Stadium. Photo: Kyle Blanleil.

Memorial tournament brings together Okanagan fastpitch teams

The 7th Andre Blanleil Sr Fastpitch Tournament starts Friday night in Kelowna

The Kelowna Andre’s Athletics are looking for a return to the top of the podium at this year’s Andre Blanleil Sr. Fastpitch Tournament.

After a narrow loss in 2018, the Athletics, led by the Blanleil family, host the tournament of Okanagan and Lower Mainland teams in honour of the late Andre and Blanleil and their dedication to fastpitch in Kelowna.

“Anytime you can recognize someone in the game’s history and honour them in a tournament, it brings value to the game and it grows,” said Kyle Blanleil, Andre Sr.’s grandson and tournament organizer.

“We get some older faces who played and coached against Andre Sr., and that helps recognize the history of the sport in Kelowna.”

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The annual tournament celebrates its seventh year this Father’s Day weekend. The action starts with the two local teams, the Athletics and the Vernon House of Floors Installers kicking off the tournament Friday night, with the remaining four teams battling it out and the finals being on June 16.

Blanleil said they specifically chose to have the tournament on Father’s Day this year.

“It’s a great family tournament, and we planned it for the weekend for that reason. It makes it extra special.”

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Though teams remain friendly and honour the late members of the Blanleil family, the competitiveness from all the teams is not lost in the sentiments of the tournament.

“Everyone’s there to win,” said Blanleil.

It’s something he said his grandfather would be very appreciative Andre Sr.’s competitiveness is remembered with an inscribed quote on an old family photo:

“I knew the fun leagues were not where I wanted to be. Winning for me is a large part of the game.”

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