LIT History

This year marks the 65th LIT! This tournament is the longest running high school sports tournament in Canada. As a tribute to its longevity, it was inducted into the Regina Sports Hall of Fame as a Patron of Basketball last summer. The very first LIT was held in 1953 resulting from the efforts of Mr. John Chomay, the athletic director and Senior Boys basketball coach at Luther College High School. The one day tournament hosted sixteen teams who played cross-court games in what is now called the Merlis Belsher Heritage Center. Since then, the tournament size was reduced to 8 teams, as it is presently. Teams have been selected primarily from Western Canada while occasionally inviting teams from the USA and the Eastern provinces. The Regina teams have for several years participated in a pre-LIT tournament to decide which teams would attend LIT. In 2013, the LIT expanded to include a Girls Challenge Cup Game. And last year, the very first four team Female Tournament began.

The Merlis Belsher Heritage Center has been the home of LIT for much of its history, except the 40th and 50th tournament when games were also played at the Brandt Center Hockey Arena, hosting up to 3000 fans. In 2015, however, the newly constructed Semple Gym was used in place of the Merlis Belsher Gym. And last year would be the first time when both gyms were used.

Although the LIT has evolved throughout its history from the addition of a new gym to the different teams and themes chosen each year, many aspects of the tournament remain steadfast. It continues to be a fully student run tournament, a core pillar from the very beginning. During the early 1970s, the eight student committees that exist today were developed. Grade 11s and 12s form these committees and, with the help of their advisors, lead and organize the tournament. The grade 9s and 10s also participate as volunteers in many roles. The efforts of the whole student body are evident especially during Blitz Nights when the gyms are prepared for the tournament. Creating art is yet another way students contribute to LIT with student art used on the poster, in the program and on the walls of the gym.

As Mr. Casper, director of the LIT says, all of the best parts of LIT have not changed – “the spirit, the effort, the sportsmanship and the community support” endure year after year. We are excited to have you join the LIT’s continuing legacy.