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Glens Falls Weekend of Champions

Cool Insuring Arena Marquee

This past weekend, the Cool Insuring Arena hosted the 2023 New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Boys Basketball Tournament; a weekend the City of Glens Falls looks forward to all year! On Thursday afternoon, Mayor Bill Collins started off the festivities with a press conference.  The mayor, along with Dr. Robert Zayas (Executive Director, NYSPHSAA), Gina Mintzer (Executive Director, Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce), Tricia Rogers (President and CEO Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce) and Chip Corlew (Director of Greater Glens Falls Amateur Athletic Association) spoke of what this event means to the athletes, coaches, families, and the community of Glens Falls. 

This event – billed as, “The Road to Glens Falls: Where Legends are Made” – is the epitome of all things Glens Falls. The city of Glens Falls loves showcasing student athletes, tourism and community, and this weekend celebrates all of those things.

Teams, families, coaches, scouts and enthusiasts checked into their hotels and had the opportunity to walk the streets of Glens Falls. They got to experience a vibrant downtown filled with restaurants, retail shops, and art. Family members commemorated the weekend with souvenirs of the wonderful accomplishments that they had witnessed, and athletes anxiously awaited the experience of the last game of their season… Because win or lose, everything that they had worked for culminated during these three days.

During Thursday’s press conference, Dr. Zayas said, “We are excited to be back here in Glens Falls. This is truly the home of New York State Basketball State Championships.  We have over 700 teams that participate in the sport of boys basketball within our association. We are so excited to welcome the top 20 teams from New York State to participate right here in Glens Falls to contend for the title of New York State Champion. These teams started three months ago with the quest of earning the right to be here in Glens Falls, to compete for a State Championship. So Glens Falls is truly the place where dreams come true.”

This event also makes dreams come true for local businesses and tourism in the area: it’s estimated that this event will bring more than $5-million in profits along with it! This figure is an estimation of accommodations, food and beverage, retail, recreation, and transportation, as well as other factors. Gina Mintzer said. “We are very excited, as everybody is, to welcome all of the student athletes, the fans, the spectators, the recruiter and the scouts who are going to be here to see the best of the best around New York State during these next three days… But this particular tournament, more than 5-million dollars is the estimated economic and employment impact for 2023… It’s more than just room nights… people are going to spend money on eating and shopping and just getting to know the area in addition to their accommodations… There are some people who will stay until the very end because they want to see the very best of the best.”  

This weekend, the Queensbury Hotel was filled with the teams and their families. When sitting in the lobby, teams would noisily pile in, celebrating their victory or lamenting a loss. The Fenimore Pub was the gathering place on Saturday night for a victory celebration for a team that had clinched the tournament that day. One staff member described the experience: “We were busy here all weekend with the basketball tournament, but it was fun on Saturday night… After a team that was staying here won their championship game, the families came down here to the pub to celebrate. It made us feel like we were part of the event.”

Throughout the course of the weekend, from the vantage point of the Fenimore pub, teams could be seen walking the streets together. On Sunday, the team from Westhill – who won the Class B final over Catholic Central – walked along Ridge Street with a championship placard. The heroes of the court walked into the Queensbury Hotel, and shape-shifted back into teenagers who were ready to head back home.

For a brief moment in time, “Hometown USA” was their hometown, too… Our city anxiously awaited the games to begin, we cheered, we lamented the losses, and just how far each team had come. Each of the players experienced the apex of what they worked for over the course of their basketball careers… The future, past, and present all came together as Glens Falls crowned the High School Boys Basketball Champions.