A call to revive the spirit of hockey on Manitoulin Island

To the Expositor:

My name is John G. Corbiere and I live in M’Chigeeng here on the Island as of 2008. I’m previously from the Tweed area (25 years) and was born and raised in Toronto.

I have been playing, officiating, organizing and learning from the benefits of recreational hockey! Can I be brutally honest with your readers? Hockey is dying here! Arenas are under-used, and players’ attitudes reflect the state of hockey here. Examples are a laid back desire to play and support the few scrimmage hockey ice times available and the lateness of players who do show up. It seems players here only want to play in tournaments.

I have come from communities where hockey thrives! For a player to play in a tournament with no prior skating time is unheard of and an insult to the teammates. (I do not care how good you are!)

Now the good news. Things can change! Remember how it was 20 years ago? This Island has talented players (thanks to and despite of minor hockey). The Island needs and will support a safe, competitive league—the youth need it more. I am looking into the logistics of such a league and welcome all like-minded people and businesses to contact me to pursue this venture. Our goal is not to groom players for the NHL, but to develop young minds and bodies toward good sportsmanship. This would be for the 2014-15 season.

Check out and join our Facebook group “Manitoulin Island Hockey.” Our goal is to create a league that will ensure a level playing field and avoid community rivalries (fights) through innovative rules and structure.

John G. Corbiere