Ice Chips & Canoe Quips

Wiiky has strong hockey program within its boundaries!

Late this past summer, Wiikwemkoong announced that its minor hockey teams would not participate in the Manitoulin Island league this season due to safety considerations over COVID-19. However, that did not mean there is no hockey being played this winter under the Thunderdome.
In fact, as reported by the Anishinabek News, 119 Wiikwemkoong players have registered for a hockey program being offered through its youth centre. Players have been divided up into 16 squads in six different age groupings. Lawrence Enosse, the manager of the Brighter Future program which runs through the Waasa Naabin Youth Services Centre, said the hockey interest in the community has not waned at all. “That’s about the usual numbers that we would see [of children registered],” Mr. Enosse said. The result is still a vibrant league with teams in all divisions from age three on up to 18. Way to go teams, stay safe

Merry Christmas to us!?
As we approach the Christmas season, everyone has special memories that they hold dear. Of course we all have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day traditions that will never fade, but there is one annual occasion that may as yet be in danger. The International Ice Hockey Federation’s (IIHF) World Junior Championships were always my Boxing Day bonus prize after all the great Christmas Days over the years.
Of course there were the absolutely unforgettable Boxing Day shinny games out on any frozen surfaces we could find with all our friends who were still wanting to play after a day of festivities. The problem was often a weather problem with nature resulting i; no-ice, snow-ice, shell-ice on the lakes. In latter days it was pre-booked ice or pre-booked friends when we counted on the rinks.
As amazing as those time were, they were unfortunately inconsistent. What was always reliable, of course, were the World Junior Championships that were always part of many of our family’s holidays. Many of ours, and many other’s, holiday planning circled around the Canada–Russia game, certainly the Canada–USA game and hopefully the Canada–gold medal game or not so much, the “consolation” Canada–bronze medal game!
Canada, after winning one of the few international championships of 2020 before COVID–19 reared its ugly head, is hoping to ice a team to compete once again in this festive season. The World Junior Hockey Championships are still holding out hope that the tournament, slated this month at the Roger’s Centre in Edmonton, will continue. This despite many teams having issues keeping their prospects healthy. Closest to our Canadian hearts, Hockey Canada suspended its selection camp last Wednesday and quarantined all players for 14 days (retroactive to November 23) due to two positive COVID-19 tests among participants.
Dean McIntosh, Hockey Canada director of marketing services, is “confident the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship will be played in a safe environment” despite this setback. No fans will be in attendance for the tournament’s games, and the teams will be placed in a secure zone similar to the one used by the NHL during the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Any player who tests positive after November 29 would be disqualified from playing in the tournament. There are no plans to bring in additional players in the event of multiple positive tests, with the exception of course with Alexis Lafreniere, who was selected by the New York Rangers with the No. 1 pick of the 2020 NHL draft and was last year’s World Junior’s tournament. The 19-year-old forward is training in New York for the start of the NHL season, which is targeted for January 1, 2021.

Battle of the Blades!
In a televised sport that veers away from hockey, but only slightly, Battle of the Blades returned for a new season this fall. For the uninitiated, it was the return of the initially risky premise of professional figure and hockey players teaming up to compete as pairs figure skaters. The pairs were selected over the years with male and female skaters assuming both roles with success with either pairings. This season it was Lively’s Megan Duhamel, multi-medalist in world and Olympic competition, who teamed up with Wojtek Wolski, who was an Olympic bronze medalist who came out on top!

A good sport is good for sports.