TYENDINAGA — Aboriginal Team Ontario is coming together nicely as they head into the final two months of preparation before they take the ice for the first time as hosts of the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships. The tournament is held annually with this year’s edition being held in Mississauga from May 2-7. With the tournament being held in Ontario, second year manager Wes Marsden Jr. says the the number of interested players has been unprecedented.
“It’s been overwhelming at times to be honest, says Marsden of Alderville First Nation. “I think it’s a combination of how strong our Aboriginal hockey players are in this province, as well as the tournament location’s close proximity. Whatever the case, the number of Aboriginal hockey players interested in skating for Team Ontario this spring is really encouraging for us.”
While the girls roster has for the most part been selected, it remains a long and complicated process on the men’s side and as Marsden notes, “It’s kind of a unique balancing act to get our final roster together. Not only are there financial burdens for players, but scheduling conflicts with their regular teams, or injuries. Things like that make it really difficult to name a roster and the unfortunate side of this is not every player interested will be selected for the final roster.”
Marsden figures to be busy finalizing the roster in the coming months and points to a couple big events coming up on the calendar, the Mushkegowuk Cup and Little NHL tournaments. This is where Team Ontario officials hope to get a look at some Major Bantam and Midget aged players to get a good feel for what the roster will look like come May 2. Team Ontario staff has still been busy throughout the province, scouting games, identifying players and naming them to the preliminary roster.
A number of players have committed to playing for Team Ontario, most recently forward Trey Maracle of the Jr. C Picton Pirates. Maracle has 5 goals and 7 assists through 31 games for the Pirates and plays in all situations for the Pirates. Maracle is excited for the opportunity to showcase his abilities and help the team in anyway he can.
“I am honoured to be asked to play for Team Ontario and represent my community in such a great tournament. I look forward to working hard and putting forth my greatest efforts towards our team.” Said Maracle, “I think that our communities in Ontario have a great pool of players that can come together as one unit and win that gold medal.”
The final team roster for Team Ontario is expected sometime after the Little NHL next month. If you have any questions regarding Male Team Ontario you are encouraged to contact firstname.lastname@example.org