Tournament season arrives
Little Bands Native Youth Tournament
A brand new 2013 Chevrolet pickup truck is up for grabs at the Little Bands Native Youth Hockey Tournament, being held from Feb. 11-17 in Dryden.
Chevrolet Canada donated the pickup truck for a shootout event, which involves contestants whose name has been drawn shooting a puck from centre ice at a five-inch by four-inch hole in the middle of a hockey goal. The shootout is scheduled for 8 p.m. on the final day of the tournament, just before the midget A-side final game.
The 79-game round-robin event kicked off on the morning of Feb. 11 with a Pool A peewee game between Sandy Lake Team 1 and Round Lake.
Three novice teams, three atom teams, 13 peewee teams, six bantam teams and nine midget teams are scheduled to play during the tournament, which will be played on two ice surfaces.
Four imports are allowed for the novice teams and two imports are allowed for the atom, peewee, bantam and midget team.
Playoffs are scheduled to begin on Feb. 15 at 11:30 a.m.
Northern Bands Tournament
The Northern Bands Hockey Tournament has been reestablished for 2013 with two former National Hockey League players invited to attend: Wayne Babych and Thomas Steen.
“It’s just for an attraction — just to have somebody there,” said Robert Kakegamic, one of the tournament organizers from Sandy Lake. “First time it (the Northern Bands Hockey Tournament) was in Red Lake in the olden days, ... in the 1960s. Then they moved to Sioux Lookout. Then about 10 years ago or something like that they moved to Thunder Bay, (where) they had it for a couple of years and then they stopped at that time.”
Twenty-four teams have signed up as of Feb. 8 for the tournament, which is scheduled for March 11-16 in Dryden. Tournament organizers are looking for 28 teams to compete for $65,000 in cash and prizes, with the A-side champions taking home $25,000, the A-side runners-up $15,000, the B-side champions $10,000, the B-side runners-up $7,000, the C-side champions $5,000 and the C-side runners-up $3,000.
The tournament’s eligibility rules stipulate that it is open only to previous Northern Bands Hockey teams from remote communities in the Tikinagan Child and Family Services catchment area.
All team players must be band members of the community they are playing for, with permanent residency. Team players with permanent residency who are currently residing out of the community due to education and/or employment are eligible.
“You can’t bring in hockey players from down south who have been playing sort of semi-pro hockey,” Kakegamic said. “That’s not fair to the people who are living in the north. It’s not fair to be competing against those kind of players.”
Kakegamic said the tournament gives hockey players from the northern communities an opportunity to have “excitement” and exhibit their hockey skills.
“It’s just to have fun out there,” Kakegamic said.
Northern First Nations Tournament
The 13th Annual Northern First Nations Hockey Tournament is scheduled for March 11-17 in Sioux Lookout, with 13 teams on the confirmed list as of Feb. 9.
Tournament organizers are looking for 32 teams to compete for $44,000 in prizes, with the A-side champions taking home $18,000, the A-side runners-up $12,000, the B-side champions $5,000, the B-side runners-up $4,000. the C-side champions $3,000 and the C-side runners-up $2,000.
The Lac Seul Eagles won the A-side championship in 2012 5-4 over the Michikan Mavericks, the Sandy Lake Chiefs won the B-side championship 9-8 over REZ 64 and the Bamaji Ice won the C-side championship 7-4 over the Pikangikum Moose.
The Lac Seul Eagles won the 2011 A-side championship over the Bushtown Jets, the Screaming Otters won the 2010 A-side championship over the Lac Seul Eagles and the Bushtown Jets won the 2009 A-side championship over the Obishikokang Islanders.
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