A big Ketchikan welcome to the teams, coaches and fans visiting for the Clarke Cochrane Christmas Classic basketball tournament that starts today at Kayhi.

The “Clarke” is Ketchikan tradition in the time period between Christmas and New Years, featuring teams from around Alaska and the Lower 48.

The 2021 edition of the tournament draws mostly from across the broad geography of Alaska.

Several teams are from schools in Southeast Alaska communities — Metlakatla (Chiefs and Miss Chiefs), Hydaburg (Warriors) and Petersburg (Vikings and Lady Vikings).

Other Alaska areas anticipated to be represented are Prince William Sound (Valdez High School Buccaneers and Lady Bucs), the Matanuska Valley (Palmer High School Moose and Lady Moose), Fairbanks (Hutchison High School Hawks and Lady Hawks), Kachemak Bay (Homer High School Lady Mariners), and Norton Sound (Unalakleet School Wolfpack). There’s also a late addition of the South Anchorage High School Wolverines.

Traveling north from Oregon for the tournament are the Wilsonville High School Wildcats.

We appreciate everyone making the trip to Ketchikan — and we understand that there have been some travel-related issues that are resulting in some teams arriving later than anticipated.

Once here, we hope that every visitor has an enjoyable and beneficial visit. This is, after all, a community that takes pride in its hospitality.

Our thanks go to everyone who are putting in the truly extraordinary effort to organize the 2021 Clarke Cochrane Christmas Classic. It’s through this effort that the Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium will be the setting for three days of tournament basketball beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Welcome again. Our best wishes to all. Time now to play.