Ice Chips & Canoe Quips

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Heaven’s Gate 

Trail deal, done!?

As of press time, the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy was very close to closing the deal to purchase this amazing piece of property. Thanks to some very dedicated and generous people like Roy and Cathy Jeffery, what seemed like an insurmountable fundraising goal initially is, ‘fingers-crossed,’ looking like a victory! 

Even if you never get to experience this unique area you should be glad that wild places like this, which are relatively untouched, exist in our area. If you do get a chance to go for a hike, try and take care of it so it can still be that remarkable retreat for generations.

Caught exercising!

Mellisa Brandon and her husband, Nishin Meawasige and their children, Cameron, Marley and Rex have always been a very active family around their home at Sunsite Estates and COVID-19 hasn’t slowed them down one bit! Their family ‘bubble’ has made it a point to get out to all the great spots Manitoulin has to offer to go hiking. Keep it going, guys!

I have also caught small family bubbles pulling a double duty: exercise and clean-ups. All across the Island, kids and their parents are picking up ridiculous amounts of trash along our roadways. Hard to understand that we choose to live in such a beautiful place only to throw garbage out the window?

Golfers unite!

Golfers and club owners alike have been trying to make a case that their sport should be exempt the stay-at-home order. They do make a valid point that if strict rules are followed it could be a relatively low risk activity. All three of Manitoulin’s courses have well developed protocols that will be in place when the government gives them the go-ahead. 

Rainbow Ridge, for example, has very specific procedures that may put a cramp in your style that you have become accustomed but if it means you can get out on the links safely, it is a small price to pay. For example, if there are occasions when people can’t maintain a two metre distance such as in a golf cart, masking is mandatory. The old 19th hole tradition of a few pints to brag or drown your sorrows will of course still be a long way off. Hang in there, aces and duffers.


waits as well

Amanda Trudeau is the health promotion-prevention coordinator at Naandwechige-Gamig Wikwemikong Health Centre. She knows the value of keeping people active but any grouping of people, ideas can’t happen due to the stay at home order. Even the Sunrise Runs with Lyric Peltier had to be cancelled. Amanda does have lots of great ideas once the order is lifted. Sometime in May she hopes to organize a virtual family fun run. Hang in there!

Canadian Indigenous 

hockey players, key to Romanian pro 


Two First Nations players from Southern Alberta who have been friends since they were kids were glad that they finally ended up on the same team together again. Judd Blackwater and Colton Yellow Horn, who are both 33, were members of the Sport Club Csikszereda, a Romanian-based squad that recently captured the Erste Liga championship. The 10-team professional league features seven clubs from Hungary and three from Romania. The two have been playing on separate teams before this year. It looks like it took the duo to get back together to win the championship.

April 21, 2021

Caught exercising!

I have tried to restart this feature for a while but it has not fully taken off. In an ideal world, community members would altruistically mention their beloved neighbours’ accomplishments. Unfortunately, with recent Manitoulin ‘neighbourly’ interactions, we can only ask for indifference yet hope for promotion, with neighbours encouraging each other! 

If the spirit moves you, even anonymously, I believe we can all be inspired by these often unsung heroes who may not all wish to be singled out because of shyness. To that, I would implore everyone to feel inspired by anyone who is following the COVID–19 protocols and yet still gets us out that door and do something similarly safe!

One such example is Mindemoya-ish’s Linda Williamson. She is one example of a person dedicated to their health. She follows an impressive length of regular routes that has her to do many, many kilometres on a weekly basis.  

How about another perennial fitness proponent in Lake Manitou’s catchment area: Gerry Holliday? Have you seen this guy lately? He himself is one fitness promotion smorgasbord all himself. He has always taken, out of his own free time, anyone that is willing to put in the hard work and dedicate to their own self-improvement, he is on board.  

Over the years though, he has put his own “rubber where it meets the road” or “money where your mouth is” by bringing himself up against his own fitness potential. In his fifties he was one of Canada’s top-masters runners. Now, in his post-fifties, Gerry has brought himself down, nearly, to his old fighting weight! He has been running and back to one of his old forte’s, helping others. 

He has been training one of Manitoulin’s former cross-country and track stars in Harrison Noble to obtain a personal best in the full and half-marathon. Gerry has commented that Harrison is a joy to work with because of his willingness to buy into the program and work hard.

Thanks to his long lasting influence on other athletes, and a by-chance surprise visit from former students Evan and Logan Bayer, he is still helping. The Mindemoya brothers from Calgary and Sudbury were just home for their Mother’s birthday and got together for a leisurely five-miler for old-time’s sake (8.1 km for new-times, sake!). 

From the desk of Dad!

A number of times, I have written about former sports events as the COVID epidemic has derailed 90 percent of organized sports! Even the Memorial Cup (Canada’s Major Jr. Championship) has been cancelled for 2021. Hence, the necessity of past sporting memories. 

Last week I mentioned the stories of sports “characters” over the past 40 years. In 1977, I was introduced to Providence Bay’s Derek “Deke” Cranston. I believe it was his last year in atom. He was a solid, big young lad. He also usually had a quiet smile on his mug, yet was quick to see the humour in everything.

The following year in peewee was the beginning of body checking in the Manitoulin House League. “Deker” now could use his best attribute, size and his love for body contact. His physical presence around our net kept the goal-scorers at a distance from our goalie. Unfortunately his prowess at using his body was a negative with ‘certain’ officials. Often he received penalties for simply being stronger than most of the opposition’s players. When he went to retrieve a puck in the corner he was called for two minutes if the smaller opponent fell down. 

He eventually became somewhat paranoid about going near anyone. One referee (un-named here) in particular seemed to have it out for Derek penalizing him virtually, anytime he was on the ice. Talking to that ref that being bigger and stronger was not a penalty in itself did little or no good. Arriving at the Mindemoya arena one game in January Derek sat undressed in the dressing room. He indicated to me that he was not dressing for or playing the game. 

On his way into the rink he had seen “that ref.” He indicated that he would rather watch the game than sit in the penalty box. It took some convincing to get him to dress. During the warmup he came to me on the bench and said, “You’ll see.” Even though he was in my top pair of “D” men, I didn’t start him. In fact I left him on the bench for at least two shifts. When I indicated for him to go on the ice, he shook his head but did go out. Less than 20 seconds after the drop of the puck he was signaled for a penalty by “you know who.” 

Frustrated beyond belief he headed for the dressing room rather than the penalty bench. This meant I had to put someone else in the box while my assistant went to the dressing room to talk to Deke. During the break we convinced him to stay dressed and come to the bench to watch as long as we didn’t put him on the ice. He sat there for almost the entire third period. With less than two minutes to go there was a whistle. We were winning easily so I asked him to finish the game off but to go nowhere near any opponent. 

Because he thought that was funny, he agreed. He was only to touch the puck when it was unchallenged. To make a statement, every time he got the puck in the defensive end he iced it. He did this three times or so. It was quite hilarious (but probably only to me). As I was leaving the bench “the ref” approached me and said, “It was nice to see that Cranston learned his lesson” and I could only chuckle.

A good sport is 

good for sports