As another season of basketball tips off for the NBA, the enthusiastic brothers of Mississauga aren’t too far behind on the courts. I-Slam Athletics Club, better known as I-Slam to most, are geared up to start their twelfth season this week, with ten competitive teams bringing game to the courts with some amazing plays, action and intense competition.
The inspiration behind the idea came in 2002 when a group of Muslim brothers wanted to hold an event for the community and decided that sport was the best way to bring people out and build the bonds of brotherhood. Since basketball was the game of choice for the youth, a tournament was the best way to tap into some local talent! That year, I-Slam hosted the biggest Muslim basketball tournament in all of North America. With 32 teams competing in a weekend long event, it became a sensational hit overnight and a quick favourite for all those who loved the game. After a successful run in their first year, I-Slam decided to make this an annual event, which quickly grew in numbers and saw teams and players come out yearly, to prove their skill and their ability on the court.
But the weekend long tournament just wasn’t enough when it came to playing ball. The community wanted more, and I-Slam was ready to give. In 2003, I-Slam launched their first official Muslim Basketball League which has averaged around ten teams since then. Each year, these registered teams come out to play the full season, with a round of playoffs and then the finals all equipped with the competition and mad skills that have fans on the edge of their seats.
The ideology behind an athletic club for Muslims wasn’t just limited to basketball. As the interest in sports grew in the community, hockey wasn’t too far behind either! Starting in 2008, the creators of I-Slam brought a new league to the scene with competitive ball hockey. Today, their hockey league hosts 10 teams for a full season, with Commissioner Ibrahim Hindy, taking things to the next level.
The co-founders of I-Slam, Kashif Taqiuddin, Teepu Khawja, and Zuhair Fancy aren’t just the organizers, but also the biggest fans of the sport! Their commitment to bringing a healthy and competitive outlet to the community has opened the doors to an amazing opportunity where youth get to participate in a proper athletic club, without compromising on core values and beliefs. “I-Slam isn’t just about basketball and ball hockey,” says Kashif Taqiuddin, “it’s about creating a clean and positive space for our youth and giving them an Islamic environment while having fun.”
I-Slam has a doors open policy, where they welcome anyone who would like to play. It’s not just limited to Muslim brothers; anyone who wants to take part in some friendly contest on the courts in a halal setting is welcome to join! The organizers at I-Slam take humble pride in the work that they have done in Mississauga, and they are happy that others have followed suit. They want everyone to be inspired by their work and create similar sports opportunities in their own communities. In the spirit of brotherhood, the creators of I-Slam feel that the success of any other Muslim athletic club is a tribute to their effort, and can never be seen as competition.
I-Slam invites everyone in the community to follow them on line at http://www.i-slam.ca and drop by to watch some intense action on Friday nights with ball hockey and Sunday afternoons with basketball. They’ve ensured that it’s a family friendly environment where you will love watching, as much as playing! The energy and the brotherhood created through the club is exceptional, as the temperatures drop outside, things get heated inside! Come out and watch inspired young athletes bring fresh talent and some amazing plays to the game!