SASKATOON — The Fred Sasakamoose “Chief Thunderstick” National Hockey Championship in Saskatoon took place over last weekend.
This year, the Six Nations Ironmen were one of the 40 men’s teams invited to compete, and made it through to the semi-final. On the other end, the Akwesasne Wild also made it to the semi-finals at the other side of the board.
Ten hockey teams also competed in the women’s division for the first time.
In the women’s division, the Mistawasis Sagestrong took home the top prize, beating the Cross Lake Lady Islanders 4-3 to become the tournament’s first-ever women’s champions.
Among the team’s players was Brigette Lacquette of the Cote First Nation.
She was the first First Nations woman to play hockey for Team Canada, winning silver as of the 2018 Olympic team.
Lacquette played in the men’s division of the tournament in previous years, and said it was a privilege to get out there among other Indigenous women.
The tournament is the dream-made-reality of Fred Sasakamoose of Ahtahkakoop First Nation.
His goal was to someday have an Indigenous team compete at the Olympics.
A new statue of Fred Sasakamoose, facing Gordie Howe’s, was unveiled in front of SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon on May 18. When Saskamoose suited up for the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1950s, he was the first treaty Indigenous player in the NHL.
The tournament highlights the Indigenous talent playing hockey and welcomed a women’s division for the the first time in the tournaments history.