Indigenous hockey highlighted in two FSIN tourneys
- EFN Staff | June 09, 2018
Indigenous hockey dominated the spotlight in Saskatoon on the last two weekends in April with the Federation of Indigenous Sovereign Nations (FSIN) Adult and Youth Hockey Tournaments held at the Jemini arena.
Clay DeBray was the FSIN Adult Hockey Tournament coordinator/chairperson. He said this year’s adult tournament that was on April 20-22 had 86 teams in total which is on average based on the previous years.
“On daily, there were 3,000 people coming through the doors in the ranks,” said DeBray. “It was an overall success. We were proud to host as Flying Dust First Nation. We utilized it as one of our fundraisers because we’re hosting the 2019 Summer Games.”
Each division won prize money, a championship provincial banner with jackets along with nine awards given to individual players.
The Canoe Lake Young Guns won in the senior contact division with the Ochapowace Thunder as the runner up. Stanley Mission won in the recreation 1 division, in the recreation 2 division James Smith won, the Legends 35+ Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, in the 45+ Masters division PAGC and in the ladies’ division Cote First Nation were the champs. Team Canada Hockey Olympian Brigette Lacquette played for her community Cote First Nation.
“It was an honour to have Brigette play, with her playing experience. She’s such a great role model for the youth,” said DeBray. “That brought exposure having Brigette play in our tournament and it also showcases that our First Nations are excelling more and more in the sport of hockey.”
Ken Thomas, FSIN Director of Sport, Culture, Recreation and Youth, coordinated the FSIN youth tournament which was on April 27-29. He said there were 109 teams that registered but only 106 teams showed up. It was an opportunity for Saskatchewan’s Indigenous youth to showcase their skills and have fun playing a sport they love.
“Looking at the attendance we’ve hosted in the previous years for the [FSIN youth], we’re above what we made, which is a good sign,” said Thomas. “This year, we added a female atom and peewee division to coincide…female hockey is growing in Saskatchewan so we figured we’d add that division into this tournament which is why there’s an increase in teams this year.”
The FSIN youth hockey tournament coincided with the Fred Sasakamoose “Chief Thunderstick” Invitational Hockey Tournament on the same weekend.
“It’s good that both tournaments are great but it’s unfortunate they are both on the same weekend,” said Thomas. “But First Nations people are supporting each tournament which is great.”
With the three Indigenous hockey tournaments, it was an economic boost in Saskatoon but Thomas said he wished the FSIN youth tournament received support from the city.
“We would like more support when Indigenous organizations are hosting in the city,” he said. “Both tournaments are bringing millions of dollars into the city, we haven’t seen a dime from [the city]. Hotels and restaurants were packed and full.”
Spectators enjoyed watching great youth hockey and witnessed the FSIN youth hockey champs who were given trophies, bunnyhugs and banners.
The FSIN Youth champions were Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation for the Bantam division, Midget – Onion Lake, Peewee – La Ronge, Atom – Stanley Mission, Novice – Muskeg Lake, Female Atom/Peewee – Yorkton Tribal Council, and lastly the Female Bantam/Midget champs went to Team Easter Sector.