NAHC returns to celebrate Indigenous athletes this week

WINNIPEG — Teams of Indigenous hockey players from across Canada will gather to compete in the 2023 National Aboriginal Hockey Championships (NAHC) in Winnipeg this week.


So far, the Female Team Ontario earned 13-0 over Atlantic in Game1, another 9-1 win over Eastern Door and North in Game 2, and Alberta 5-1 in Game 3. As for the Male Team Ontario, updates are yet to come.


It’s the 20th Anniversary of the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships (NAHC) and for the first time since 2009, this highly-regarded, Canada-wide hockey event will be held in Winnipeg.


The 2023 NAHC convenes at the Seven Oaks Sportsplex, 745 Kingsbury Ave., on May 7, 2023, and will continue every day until both male and female champions are crowned on May 13.


Hosted by the Manitoba Host Committee, the event brings together the finest U18 AAA, Prep School and junior hockey players from across the country, all vying for the right to be called National Champions.


“We’ve been waiting for many years to have the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships back in Manitoba,” said Manitoba Sports & Recreation Council Executive Director Mel Whitesell in a press release.


“We are so happy to have been awarded the 20th Anniversary Championships that will be played at Seven Oaks Sportsplex in May.”


The tournament features the top Indigenous hockey players from across Canada vying for a national championship.


Alumni of the event include past and present Canadian national team members including Jocelyne Larocque, Brigette Lacquette and Jamie Lee Rattray.


Founded in 2002, the tournament features elite U-18 athletes from across Canada. Team Saskatchewan features seven individuals who recently competed in the U-18 Esso Cup national championships from the Regina Rebels and Prince Albert Northern Bears.


Manitoba and Ontario enter as the top ranked teams in the tournament with rosters filled with players from provincial AAA, Junior, and Prep school teams.


Team Ontario will feature current professional hockey player Kelly Babstock on the bench as an assistant coach at the tournament.


Team Saskatchewan also might have the most game ready roster at the tournament as seven members of their roster recently finished playing in the 2023 national championship Esso Cup, including five members of the host Prince Albert Northern Bears and two members of the bronze medal winning Regina Rebels.


That group including Jacquelyne Chief, a blueliner who is committed to play ACHA DI hockey next season for Marysville University.




WINNIPEG — Team Ontario features current professional hockey player Kelly Babstock on the bench as an assistant coach at the tournament and Alexia Hill of Six Nations wearing 22 on her jersey. Photo courtesy of Indigenous Sport and Wellness Ontario.


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