Aundeck Omni Kaning hockey player living the dream by playing in OHL

Samuel Assinewai of Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation is playing in the OHL this season for the Flint Firebirds.

FLINT, MICHIGAN – Samuel Assinewai is living the dream, playing in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) this season!

“Yes, everything is awesome; I’ve always wanted to play in the OHL,” stated Samuel in an interview October 23, on a weekend that he was able to come back to his home in Aundeck  Omni Kaning (AOK) for a visit. “It’s nice to be able to have a weekend off.”

He also made it clear that he is hoping to some day play in the National Hockey League (NHL).

“I’m in awe being in the stands watching him, I can’t imagine how much in awe  Samuel is,” stated dad Shaun Assinewai of his son playing for the Flint Firebirds. “I was at his first two games this season, and it was nothing but exciting being there and watching him play.” 

Samuel Assinewai, who is 17 years of age, was drafted by the Flint Firebirds in April 2020. He was chosen in the 13th round of the OHL draft, the 256th player taken in the draft. 

“I played for the Rayside Balfour Canadians last year,” Samuel told The Expositor. They year previous to that, he had played for the Detroit Compuware bantams in the High Performance Hockey League, one of the top American development leagues for up-and-coming prospects. 

With the COVID-19 pandemic last year, Samuel wasn’t able to try out for the Firebirds (the OHL season was cancelled). “But this year I tried out for the team and made it.” 

Growing up on Manitoulin Island, “I played for the Little Current Flyers when I was younger and then the Manitoulin Panthers for three seasons,” Samuel told The Expositor.

“He’s doing well, really well,” said Shaun Assinewai, who said he is planning to move to Mount Pleasant, Michigan (close to Flint) in the next month or so to be closer to his son.

Samuel is attending Grand Blanc High School in Flint, Michigan. “There are about 10 players from the team who are all going to the same high school, which is awesome.” As for the Firebirds, he is getting quite a bit of ice time on left wing. He has been on the fourth, second and third lines at times this season and has started every game this season. “I’m playing most of the time on the fourth line.  There are a lot of good players on this team.” There has been a big change this season with COVID-19. Teams are playing a lot of the  younger players on their rosters with the older players having basically lost two seasons.

“The strongest part of my game is playmaking,” Samuel told The Expositor. He is being billeted out with a family in Flint, and “they are great people. I’m really having fun, everything has been great.”