Ice Chips & Canoe Quips

Back to school sports/phys-ed!

I have heard from some parents that their children, or those that they know, have spent the COVID-19 pandemic leading more of a couch potato lifestyle! With school having started up yesterday, their phys-ed class might look and feel different. Whenever possible, students are to be outside to lessen the change of exposure to a possible virus. 

If students are in the gym, there are limited options for what activities they can participate. Most gym classes will require students to spread out and work on something on the spot like personal strengthening exercises (sit-ups, push ups etc.) or stretching and balance tasks like yoga.

Hopefully, if we all remain vigilant the precautions and strictness of the province’s directive can be relaxed and sports can start looking something closer to normal.

The Attempt conquers the biggun!

What has a circumference of 87.7km and an area of 104 km squared? The intrepid paddlers of The Attempt (Kristin Bickell and Natalie Hastings) are attempting to see if they can paddle around the perimeter of all the Island’s interior lakes. This pair know every bay and bluff around their lake: Gitchi Manitou (Great Spirit, Lake Manitou). With another 87.7 km of water under their hull they tally their total distance paddled at 201.5 km.

Despite some challenging winds The Attempt group always find the beauty and kindness of strangers along the way. They experienced true Manitoulin hospitality and gained a wealth of knowledge from lake veterans. One trivia question answered: How many red Muskoka chairs can you see along Manitou’s shores? 572! Kristin was wondering if you all got a group discount! Counting 572 red Muskoka chairs (seriously, did you all get a group discount?). Even with the rock and rolling conditions for the pair and new paddler, Kim they could not help but be in awe of the breathtaking exposure of the Niagara Escarpment in Sandfield bay. 

They knew Manitou was a big lake but after 22 hours on the water in a 48-hour span, they came to appreciate her magnitude and unpredictable ways. They did notice the fall chill is officially in the air and they have had to transition to socks and sandals, but they claim they are not done yet!

Pickleball update!

You may have seen over the weekend a pickleball tournament in North Bay. Our local club members decided to play it on the safe side and stayed on their home courts to prevent bringing the virus being carried over here. 

With that being said, pickleball is still in full swing with both indoor and outdoor play at the NEMI Recreation Centre. Play times: Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 10 am; Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7 pm.

Contact: Bud Hebner,, 705-368-1953 and on Facebook, Manitoulin Pickleball.

Consecutive running days!

Congratulations to Manitowaning’s Yana Bauer and Kagawong’s Heather Theijsmeijer who are in the middle of an inspiring consecutive days running streak. The pair are part of the Twitter motivational hashtag: #educatorsontherun. Yana has hit 164 days and counting while Heather started slightly earlier and is on 178! Keep racking up the days! I’m sure it will be tough once school starts but you have a great habit started!

Third OALE trip finished!

The third and final Outdoor Adventure Leadership Experience trip finished up last week. COVID shortened their usual trip to the French River but they still paddled from Point Grondine to Wiikwemkoong!

Hats off to the youth: River Lavell, Niiben Pitawanakwat, Victoria Trudeau, Maria Shawanda, Montana Manitowabi, Noah Trudeau, Sofia Zappier and Jeremy Negaginijig. Of course, thanks to the OALE staff: Natalie Negaginijig, Kayla Manitowabi, Jesse Peltier and Nimkii Lavell.

Winners of the Pike and Bass Classic!

This past weekend the growing Bass and Pike Classic hosted by Wiikwemkoong Tourism and thanks to many critical sponsors.

In the bass division: first place, Bob Madahbee, 39.5” with two bass; second place, Cassandra Bisson, 38.5” with two bass; third place, Bud Spry, 38.25” with two bass.

The pike division was ruled by first place Jamie Tyson, 81.5” with two pike; second place, Heather Pennie, 75” with two pike; third place, Ben Beauparlant, 61” with two pike.

The mystery fish weight category was won by Dave Patterson with a 19.57-pound salmon. The length competition is still under review.

In the youth pike division, in first place is not really a surprise. Already a seasoned veteran and a real knack for fishing, Dane Gibeault, 50.75” with two pike; second,  Leo McGregor, 21.25” with one pike; and third, Aanimikwam Trudeau, 12.5” with one pike.

In the youth bass clash, winning was Brian Bisson Jr., 34” with two bass; second, Leo McGregor, 15” with one bass; and third, Brayden Wabano, 14.5” with one bass.

Next up is the Manitoulin Ice Showdown this winter!

Kudos to a sports’ aficionado. From the desk of Dad!

As a long-time coach one meets a lot of likeable people. One of those in my experience is Big George Shawana of Wiikwemkoong. Big George was a big teddy bear off the ice and fierce when on ice. The son of Ivan ba, George never missed a practice or a shift. He was the consummate defensive defenceman, quiet but effective. He would rattle the opposition in front of our net. 

At 6’ 2” I obviously had to look up to him at practice, naturally. I also looked up to him as a person. He could’ve been a bully but he was anything but. He was/is a gentleman. He never purposely took advantage of the smaller opponents. But he would move them out of the blue ice! Fast. He was a member of the Panthers’ first NDHL championship team. He has carved out a great career in the construction business matching his all-out efforts on the ice, a most likeable human being.

Missing from the Bowerman family tribute a couple of weeks ago was Connie Bowerman. Sorry Connie.