Once again it’s li’l NHL time when young Native hockey talent from throughout Ontario gathers to celebrate hockey and their Onkwehonwe heritage.
In years past I have had the pleasure – and the workload – of covering this major minor hockey event by myself, literally running from arena to arena to take in as many games as possible. It is an assignment that only one reporter is woefully inadequate to do justice, even if he or she were young and healthy, of which I am neither.
This year the TRT will be sending a team of reporters and social media experts to try and cover as many of the 177 teams over the four days of the event as humanly possible and post to our website game photos for friends and family back home to see and download for free.
Whether you have a young future star playing in the tournament or not, it is well worth the admission to sit back and watch as many back-to-back games as your butt can handle. It really is great entertainment and who knows, you may see that one or two players that you just know you need to remember their names for future reference.
The benefits to each player playing at a competitive level like this are obvious, but it’s the strength of character and the team attitude building that lasts even longer than the memory of the games themselves.
So for those hockey parents and relatives who support the next Wayne Gretzky or Sidney Crosby or Jordan Tootoo by taking them to the rink and being there to watch that first goal or first championship, that goes a long way to instill in a youngster a sense of pride, accomplishment and confidence. All are important to any young person, but especially to Onkwehonwe youth who are too often used to being marginalized and made to feel invisible.
Belonging to a team, whether it’s hockey, lacrosse or baseball, teaches so many life skills it’s hard to list them all. But respect for others, the importance of doing your own part and trusting others to do the same, the results of hard work and dedication, and the cliché of the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat will remain with you the rest of your life and are translatable later in life in being a good neighbour, a hard working and trustworthy employee, an upstanding community member and a thoughtful spouse, to mention only a few.
So we would like to wish every young athlete and every parent, coach and stick boy, the best of luck in building some of the above mentioned attributes this coming week in Mississauga. See ya at the games and don’t forget to stop and say hi!