Little Native Hockey League chooses Markham

GREATER TORONTO AREA — In July, the Little Native Hockey League (“LNHL”) announced that Markham has been selected as the host city for the LNHL 2024 Hockey Tournament, Cultural Festival, and Gala Celebration; following a competitive process with cities across Ontario.

In addition to the 2024 Hockey Tournament and Cultural Festival, a Gala Celebration will be hosted to celebrate the 50th anniversary and honour and recognize the inductees into the LNHL Hall of Fame.

The annual hockey tournament and cultural festival for First Nation youth players takes place through March break each year and welcomes roughly 3,500 youth male and female players from Ontario along with friends, families, and spectators.

“On behalf of the Little NHL and as a member of the bid committee, I can say wholeheartedly that we were so impressed by the bid put forth by the City of Markham. The City of Markham put a tremendous amount of work into their bid, and it showed that they respect the Little NHL and what our tournament does for our people,” said LNHL Executive Chico Ralf in a press release. “The Mayor of the City said they are collectively committed to building a strong relationship with Indigenous peoples and this opportunity is more than reconciliation because it is putting action to words. We were offered tobacco and welcomed with a Land Acknowledgment, and this is the first step in building respectful and reciprocal relationships. We very much look forward to hosting this great and wonderful tournament in Markham and will proudly celebrate its 50th anniversary.”

Each year the tournament has a notable economic benefit for its host, with an economic impact for past events, which have not included the Gala Celebration being planned for the 50th anniversary celebration of the LNHL tournament, have been estimated to be a minimum of $10 million. This activity includes examples of expenditures such as 6,000 hotel rooms booked, food, travel, tourism expenditure, and operational expenditure. The tournament is also anticipated to generate significant media coverage with both national and regional media outlets covering the tournament.

“We are thrilled and honoured to be named as the host City for the 2024 Little Native Hockey League Tournament, as it prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary next year”, said Mayor Frank Scarpitti in a press release. “The City of Markham is committed to reconciliation and has a rich sporting history, particularly in the game of hockey. We are pleased to be able to welcome young Indigenous athletes and their families from across Ontario. I look forward to celebrating this historic and memorable event in March 2024.”

The 2024 Tournament, Cultural Festival, and Gala Celebration was awarded to a joint bid by the City of Markham and Destination Markham.

Photo courtesy of the Little Native Hockey League Facebook page.

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