MISSISSAUGA – The 45th Little Native Hockey League Tournament (LNHL) is taking place in Mississauga from March 14 to 17 with 194 teams representing First Nations across Ontario.
President of the LNHL Marvin Assinewai said, “The Little NHL Tournament has created countless memories everlasting new and old friendships from our Anishinabek across Ontario.”
The four LNHL pillars are respect, education, citizenship and sportsmanship.
“Your efforts have united the community through a shared love of Canada’s favourite winter game,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, recognizing the tournament’s value.
The LNHL is a family event that many families travel to every year to watch their children participate in.
Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee said, “Every team has the goal of winning their division, but the memories of participating in the high level competition will be something that you will always remember.”
Elected Chief R. Stacey Laforme of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation said, “A tournament that is a testament to the rich history of our peoples in sport. It has truly become a cultural event here in Ontario. This tournament has had its share of towns and cities but where ever it calls home for that year people will travel to watch, participate, volunteer and cheer.”
Throughout the tournament you may still feel the presence of elders, participants, spectators, and volunteers past watching and cheering at every rink they play. Many dignitaries and former players who have continued to play in leagues as high as the NHL may frequent the arenas, speak with the players and sign autographs.
“It’s not if you win or lose, but how much you tried and how fairly you played,” said former Chief Jim McGregor.
These are words that are repeated by coaches to instill the teachings to future generations. With all the support we have one must always keep their eyes open. You never know who you might see catching a game.
Opening Ceremonies took place at the Hershey Centre on Sunday March 13 and the games started on March 14. Games will take place at the Hershey Centre and the Iceland, Tomken and Meadowvale Arenas.