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REF NO.: 47

SUBJECT: Memorial's first annual Celebrity Basketball Challenge ends in tie
DATE: Oct. 17, 2003

Memorial University Student Union president Les McFadden scored a three-point basket at yesterday evening's Celebrity Basketball Challenge to tie the final score at 27-27.

Mr. McFadden played on the celebrity team alongside local media personalities, politicians and Alan Doyle of the band Great Big Sea, in a friendly game against a team of Memorial varsity athletes. The event was part of Celebrate Memorial 2003, an annual festival of events celebrating the university's significant ties to the community of Newfoundland and Labrador.

About 250 students, faculty, staff and members of the public turned out to The Works athletics facility on the St. John's campus last night to watch the fun. Mr. Doyle proved himself to be a crowd favourite, winning cheers and applause each time he took the court.

Dr. Bill Redden, the retired director of Memorial's School of Athletics, coached the celebrity team. He said while Mr. McFadden was one of the more experienced athletes on the team, every player had their moment. "It was a fun, entertaining game played in the spirit of cooperation," Dr. Redden said. "Everyone had a great time, and it was something that really linked the university to the community."

Lead-up games played by local Grade 5 and 6 students before the main celebrity event were also a great success, and provided the young people an opportunity to experience the Field House atmosphere. Half-time performances by local high-school cheerleading teams and Memorial's varsity cheerleading squad added to the entertainment package.

The Celebrity Basketball Challenge also collected donations to the campus food bank. Michelle Healey of Memorial's School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, and one of the event's planners, said she hopes the basketball challenge will become an annual part of Celebrate Memorial. "It's a sport that appeals to lots of people, and it's an opportunity to involve our high-profile athletics teams and local celebrities in something that gives back to the university," she said.

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