Prince George Sports Hall of Fame

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Larsen_1.jpg

Ken Larsen (2005)

Basketball Pioneer Athlete

Ken Larsen’s status as an all-star basketball player extended from the high school courts in Prince George to the international level of the Pan American Games and the World Championships. Along with basketball, the Calgary-born Larsen also excelled in baseball and football, and spent a couple of years in the boxing ring while growing up in Prince George. In 1957 his Prince George Junior/Senior high school basketball team competed at the B.C, tournament, after which Larsen was awarded a work scholarship to Everett Junior College in Washington.

A year later he joined the Vancouver Cloverleafs, winning rookie-of-the-year in 1958, then played with the Athletics Senior A Men's basketball team in Alberni. He then turned to baseball, which took him to Stockton, California, to work with a 'C' league team with hopes of breaking into the Vancouver Mounties organization in the late 1950s. The next destination was Calgary, where he competed in football and baseball leagues, and also worked out regularly and played exhibition games with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League.

At the beginning of the 1960s, Larsen was recruited by the Lethbridge Broders senior A basketball team which won the national championship three years in a row. In 1962 the Broders represented Canada at an invitational tournament in the Philippines which was intended to be the world championships, but was reduced to invitational status due to political problems involving the Eastern Block. The Canadian team placed second. The following year, Larsen again represented Canada, this time as part of the national Pan American Games team in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where Canada made it to the consolation round.

Larsen played one final season with the Broders in 1963-1964 before joining a Winnipeg area team. In 1966 his Manitoba team won a silver medal at the first Canada Games basketball tournament. Larsen returned in 1967 to Alberni where he played another three years of senior A basketball and several years at the senior B level before returning to Prince George.


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