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Sioux Lookout welcomes back Little Bands

Thursday December 19, 2013
Bryan Phelan/Wawatay News
Celebrating news that 2014 Little Bands Native Youth Hockey Tournament will take place in Lac Seul First Nation and Sioux Lookout are, from left: Gerson Augstin, Sioux Lookout parks and recreation manager; Amy Brizard, executive assistant for the Sioux Lookout Chamber of Commerce; Mayor Dennis Leney; tournament organizers Ziggy Beardy, Steven Fiddler and Jethro Tait; Chief Clifford Bull; Barry King, manager of the Lac Seul Events Centre; and Dori Hopko, president of the Sioux Lookout Blueberry Festival.

Representatives of Sioux Lookout officially welcomed the Little Bands Native Youth Hockey Tournament back to town on Dec. 16.

The weeklong tournament returns to the Sioux Lookout Memorial Arena for its 13th season after one year away at the twin ice surfaces in Dryden. The 2014 tournament, which takes place Feb. 10-16, will still feature two rinks, as games will also be played throughout the week at the Lac Seul Events Centre arena, which opened earlier this year and seats 1,300 spectators.

Chief Clifford Bull of Lac Seul and Mayor Dennis Leney of Sioux Lookout, along with business and recreation officials from the two communities, gathered with tournament organizers at a news conference to announce the venues for the upcoming event.

“We decided to bring the tournament back to Sioux Lookout mainly because of the proximity of the new Lac Seul arena,” said Ziggy Beardy, who handles the tournament’s public relations, website and statistics. “We can accommodate up to 36 teams.”

Organizers are soliciting entries for a girls division, for players 10 to 15 years old, which would be a tournament first. The five standard divisions, from novice to midget, remain in place.

“We had a good time and good hospitality in Dryden but Sioux Lookout has been our base … so we decided to come back and give it another try,” Beardy said. “Our fan base is here.”
Mayor Leney is pleased to see the Little Bands return.

“With Lac Seul having a brand new arena and with our arena, it’s going to work out for both the communities really good,” he said. “We have the hospitality – lots of hotels and lots of restaurants – and it’s a good economic boost for the municipality and all our businesses.

“I enjoy all the hockey we get here with the First Nations, especially the Little Bands,” added Leney, who policed in the district’s remote communities for 10 years until retiring from the OPP’s Northwest Patrol Unit. “Having worked in the North for several years, it’s nice to see a lot of the people I’ve known for years back in Sioux Lookout. I always look forward to it.”

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