Sandy Lake, Lac Seul and Bearskin Lake were the big winners at the 2014 Little Bands Native Youth Hockey Tournament.
Although Sachigo Lake played in five of the six A-Side championship games, they only won the Atom A-Side championship.
“The kids really enjoyed the week, they really enjoyed the games and regardless if they lost or won, they are still winners,” said Ziggy Beardy, committee member for the tournament. “It was a good experience for a lot of them — some of them don’t even have arenas.”
Sandy Lake won the Midget A-Side, Peewee A-Side, Girls B-Side, Novice B-Side, Atom C-Side and Bantam C-Side championships.
Lac Seul won the Novice A-Side, Bantam B-Side, Peewee B-Side and Atom B-Side championships while Bearskin Lake won the Bantam A-Side, Girls A-Side and Peewee C-Side championships.
Wunnumin won the Midget B-Side championship and Kingfisher won the Midget C-Side championship.
The Feb. 10-16 tournament was held at the Sioux Lookout Memorial Arena and the new Lac Seul Events Centre, which Lac Seul community members were proud to show off to their northern visitors.
“It was very loud,” said Lac Seul Councillor Derek Maud, who coached one of the Lac Seul teams. “I heard a lot of comments about the ice surface and how the facility was a lot different from Sioux Lookout, with it being warmer in there and more room.”
Maud said most of the Lac Seul Event Centre games were well attended by fans, especially games involving Lac Seul teams.
“It was just a packed house most of the time,” Maud said.
The tournament featured about 45 teams and about 700 players from across northwestern Ontario.
“We had quite a few teams compete for the Girls division,” Beardy said. “We’re thinking of possibly using three rinks next year because we had to turn away some teams mainly because we ran out of ice time. We’re going to expand — we’re going to have more girls teams. Every division will have some more teams.”
Beardy was impressed with the support from the Town of Sioux Lookout at this year’s tournament.
“The Chamber of Commerce was involved, the mayor and the town council,” Beardy said. “There was really great support from the town and from the First Nation community of Lac Seul as well.”
Beardy said fan attendance was up this year at both the Sioux Lookout and Lac Seul arenas.
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