Ice Chips & Canoe Quips

Good vibes to Dayne!

Calling out Manitoulin to support long time Special Olympian Dayne Tipper who has been undergoing some medical interventions over the last couple of weeks. He is experiencing a lot of pain, but as usual, is tough as nails. I have personally witnessed Dayne training for the Olympics on a “snow day” without enough snow for his event of the snowshoe sprint, but there he was running down Highway 551! We wish you all the best, Dayne. 


The present shutdown (for good reason) has forced me to watch a second South Korean live baseball league. My 10-year-old grandson Jacob, a sports player and fan, called me from Toronto to see if I knew when the NHL was starting up again. Even the little guy who, of course, has no school sports is going a bit stir-crazy. Meanwhile in Mindemoya, I’m sure long time sports fan and participant Bruce Wiggins is weeping somewhere as he can’t watch his beloved Toronto Blue Jays. Sports news is hard to come by so let’s look a few blasts/memories from the past, an “I remember when” time. So here we go:

I remember Glen Duncanson pitching many a great game for the Gore Bay men’s fastball team; Aundeck Omni Kaning’s Mike Abotossaway slamming numerous home runs over the fence for his hometown First Nation as well as being a “strength” champion; the late Mike Cheechoo-baa scoring many a slapshot goal with his turn-around blaster; Randy Rivers tasting victory in the first Wiky 10K Road Race almost 50 years ago; Gerry Holliday winning the same race a record seven times; watching runner C.J. Esquimaux win many a race for LCPS in the 1980s; and Merence Trudeau being absolutely rock-solid in goal for the Wiky Hawks and the Manitoulin Panthers.

Remembering Sean Gjos and Mike Cheechoo-baa being named to the NDHL Midget All-Star team in the Panthers first year, in the NDHL in 1986-87; cheering the outstanding national results of the Island’s Special Olympians such as Mark Dokum, Dayne Tipper, Bruce Van Horn, Norm Daoust, Matt Bedard  and many others along with their great coaches.

Observing Rodney Dryden have a five-goal game for the Mindemoya Thunder some 30 years ago; watching Jason Koehler of Little Current develop into one of the top defensemen in the entire NDHL; Birch Island’s Dan Pitawanakwat finishing a bruising check in the near corner; seeing Gore Bay’s/Kagawong’s Chris Dunn progress from house league to first line right wing with the Manitoulin Panthers in their championship year. Witnessing how well Dunn fit in with the Aljoe twins (Trevor and Trace) on one of the highest-scoring lines in Midget Panthers history. In that same year the twins and my goaltender son, Wade, were named to the league All-Star squad.

Recalling all the time the late Randy Thibault put into almost every sport as participant, coach and Manitoulin House League as long-time president; admiring the job Mike Payette performed as local NOHA referee-in -chief, a thankless job for sure. Giving a huge shout out to legendary MSS track coach, the late Ted Jackson, a man of devotion.

How about the numerous hours put into Mindemoya sports by Wendy and Bruce Wiggins? Admiring the quality of refereeing by M’Chigeeng’s Earl Debassige, Greg Lockyer of  Little Current and Mindemoya, as well as Wiikwemkoong’s  Marcell Recollect and Prov’s Michael Niven.

Watching girls’ hockey improve to the point that it produced stars such as Diedre Debassige, Aysia Francis Debassige, Delaney “Boogey” Bridgeman, Kennedy Lanktree and Victoria Pitawanakwat as well as so many others! Women’s hockey has come a long, long way!

The marvelous puck-handling of Clint-baa and Lanny Peltier of Wiikwemkoong. The cerebral game of Bill Slaght, currently president of Little Current Minor Hockey and a hats-off to his late father Doug who was a great hockey team manager.

How about the amazing Walter Mishibinijima who walked every spring from Rabbit Island to Sault Ste. Marie to raise money for First Nations youth in foster care, in college or university. The gentleman did this for a decade. Kudos to all who participate in athletics!

Avery two-peats!

Avery Sutherland was recently named the junior girls’ cross country Most Valuable Player for this past autumn for team at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary school in Sudbury. She won it as well last year as a midget aged runner. Here is hoping you will get a chance to three-peat this coming fall, Avery. Keep training, it won’t go to waste!

Paul Williams Memorial postponed

Another event has sadly been moved. The Paul Williams fastball/slowpitch tournament would have been the July 24 weekend. Organizers are still waiting but thinking they will have it, August 28! Fingers crossed, all.

A good sport is good for sports