Team #22 unveiled in Poirier’s memory

The family of James Poirier are keeping the former basketball star’s memory alive in a number of ways. On September 8 at Ski Martock, Team #22 will be doing just that at Mud Hero. The name of the team is in honour of James’ jersey number, as he was one of the stars of the SAERC Saints boys basketball team.

HALIFAX: It’s a muddy but memorable event whenever Mud Hero, a six kilometer race through an obstacle course, takes place. However, for the family of James Poirier, keeping memories alive is just as important as making new ones.

The event will be held in early September this year at Ski Martock, and it will be the sixth consecutive year Nova Scotia hosted such an event. Mud Hero races, which can be 10k events as well as 6k, take place in several other provinces as well.

Each year, organizers of the race select a not-for-profit group to whom to donate funds from the event. This year in Nova Scotia, Special Olympics Canada is that group.

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Last year, siblings Cohen Poirier and Kalen Long participated. The brother and sister were taking part as a family effort to “live life big” for their late brother, James Poirier.

“We want to continue to live life big by challenging ourselves to do things we think he would want to do and would also want us to keep doing since his passing,” said Debra Long, James’ mother.

“This year, Cohen decided to start a team #22 with the decision it would be one more event to keep James’ name alive. James loved basketball. His high school jersey [Number 22] was retired by his high school basketball coach Jason Seymour.”

Seymour also started the James Poirier Memorial Basketball Tournament at SAERC high school in Poirier’s memory.

“Jason was someone who impacted the life of James in a way we as a family could never put into words,” Debra said.

The high school tournament isn’t the only basketball event that bears James’ name. Kalen Long and Cailin MacQuarrie (James’ girlfriend) also hold a yearly James Poirier basketball tournament that raises funds for bursaries in his name and sponsors children in sports camps.

Debra noted that all family members have been doing individual efforts to keep James’ memory alive.

“Cohen carries on James’ love for the environment,” the mother said. “Cohen came second in Canada this year in a contest by the Science and Engineering Council of Canada. He invented the first hybrid tricycle in Canada. There are only a few in the world.

“James loved music and had bought his first guitar the August before he died in a car crash. He did not get to fully learn how to play it. I began guitar lessons using his guitar this year. There is so much more being done across Canada in his name by so many people, it’s remarkable.

“Ultimately, it is our biggest hope to one day build a basketball court in his name.”

James died as a result of a single vehicle car crash on Friday, October 23, 2015. He was 19-years old.