Maui Invitational moves to Honolulu as wildfire recovery continues
(WIBW) - The Kansas Jayhawks will keep a trip to Hawaii on this season’s basketball schedule.
The Maui Invitational announced Friday it will move to the island of Oʻahu as Maui continues recovering from devastating wildfires. The tournament is traditionally held at the Lahaina Civic Center, which is serving as a hub for the recovery efforts.
The 2023 Tournament will tip off at the Stan Sheriff Center on the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa campus. It will be held from Nov. 20 to 22.
The wildfires that hit in early August killed at least 115 people with dozens still missing and decimated the town of Lahaina, leaving the status of this year’s tournament in doubt.
KU tops the eight-team field, and comes in ranked first in ESPN’s early preseason poll. All schools that initially signed on will take part in the relocated competition. They include fellow pre-season top 10 teams Purdue (#3), Gonzaga (#7), Tennessee (#8) and Marquette (#10). Syracuse, Chaminade and UCLA round out the field.
“While we have to move this year’s Tournament off of Maui, we are determined to celebrate and honor the culture and traditions that make this event so special,” said Tom Valdiserri, executive vice president of KemperSports LIVE, the operator of the Maui Invitational. “Throughout this process, we’ve seen the spirit of ‘ohana in action. Thank you to Governor Josh Green, Hawai’i Tourism Authority, and Mayor Richard Bissen as well as the staff at Chaminade University of Honolulu and University of Hawai’i at Mānoa for working tirelessly with us to keep this year’s Tournament in Hawai’i.”
Tournament organizers say tickets already purchased will be honored and places in similar seat locations at Stan Sheriff Center. Additional tickets will go on sale in early October at mauiinvitational.com.
People who purchased tournament travel packages also will be offered comparable alternatives in Honolulu.
“We are disappointed that we could not make the Lahaina Civic Center available for the Maui Invitational this year, but we are thankful the Tournament is staying in Hawai’i,” Maui Mayor Richard Bissen said. “We appreciate everything the Maui Invitational is doing to help Maui and its residents.”
The Maui Invitational launched the Hoops for ‘Ohana online auction last week. Proceeds will got to the Hawai’i Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund to benefit wildfire relief and recovery efforts. It features items donated by past Maui Invitational teams and partners. To learn more, visit mauiinvitational.com/hoopsforohana. KU donated a package that includes a Bill Self autographed basketball; 2023 KU Big 12 Champs T-Shirts; 2022 National Champions Hat, T-Shirt & Hoodie; 2022 Final 4 Apparel; 36 Kansas t-shirts & jackets, and a framed 2022 National Champions photo. Former KU player and current Stanford head coach Jerod Haase donated an autographed basketball.
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