With the announcement of the women’s teams for the 2023, Fred Saskamoose ‘Chief Thunderstick’ National Championship on September 3, the opportunity for 10 women’s teams to play in 2022 featured Indigenous heroes from across the country.
One of the Olympic alumni known to the Indigenous community, Brigette Lacquette, suggested the introduction of a women’s tournament back in 2021. Having played in the men’s tournament for two years, Lacquette played for Mistawasis Sage Strong in the inaugural women’s tournament, capturing the championship.
For the T-Birds, led by head coach Ted Nolan, the roster consisted of elite talent.
Among the likes of Kelly Babstock and more headlining the teams was Jana Headrick, the recipient of the Marion Hilliard Award this year.
Raised on the Garden River First Nation in Ontario, she organized a camp for Indigenous girls in New Brunswick. Spanning six weeks, including equipment for the participants, the camp is set to continue in the autumn of 2022 under the leadership of Lily George, a member of the Nipissing First Nation.
Also from Garden River, Brittney Zack played alongside Headrick as a teammate for the first time. The two crossed paths at the 2022 U Sports Nationals. Zack, skating for the OUA’s Nipissing Lakers, encountered Headrick’s University of New Brunswick Reds in the medal round.
Next years women’s line up will include: SageStrong, Cree Nation Selects, Moose Factory Lady Scrappers, Wiikwemkoong Ti-Birds, Haudenosaunee Arrows, Warriors Alberta, Sagkeeng, Cross Lake Lady Islanders, Metis Nation, Kana Blackhawks, Mixed Nations, Akwesasne Wild, Treaty 4 Ladies, Frog Lake T-Birds and Alexis Nakota.