Ice Chips & Canoe Quips

Scooter, Jacob Wilson and Chloe Peltier take in the view on Mt. Ararat

Joseph Maxwell, Olympian!

It was nice to hear a familiar voice on CBC radio this past Monday when Evansville’s Joseph Maxwell was being interviewed about his potential chance to compete at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics. 

Maxwell has grown up and beyond this column over the years as he started as an elite Manitoulin regional, provincial and national athlete over the years. He recounted his aim was always to rise to the level of receiving a US college scholarship and described that this pinnacle required him to train long hours at home as well as receive his education due to the long commute to MSS that would have him losing two hours of each school day. 

Maxwell’s extreme focus, hard work and efficient use of the available hours in the day allowed him to achieve his objective when he received a scholarship to the University of Tennessee. Speaking from Knoxville, Joseph said that he is currently in the Top 15 in Division 1 of the NCAA and second in Canada!

As far as his chances of going to Japan this summer, Joseph was very practical saying that while the Olympics was at one time his ultimate goal, he now sees his commitment to his U of T Volunteers team as a huge priority to him. Due to COVID, the usually mandatory Canadian Track and Field Championships in order to qualify for the Olympics has made attendance voluntary, however, he is just shy of the automatic Olympic standard for shot-put of 21 metres. It will be up to the discretion of the Canadian Olympic Committee to decide, but Joseph, suffering from some nagging injuries, is okay either way, but is pleased with where the sport has brought him. 

Heaven’s Gate is ‘ours’!

Last week before press time, it wasn’t yet official, but minutes after my deadline I got the great news from Dr. Roy Jeffery, who along with his wife Cathy have been instrumental in spearheading the campaign. The modest Dr. Jeffery relayed to me that, “due to a tremendous amount of support from the Island, Red Deer Village and the North Shore, Sudbury and all over Ontario we have met and exceeded our fund raising targets. Tomorrow (Tuesday, April 27) the property (it turns out it is actually more than 2,000 acres) will change hands and be officially registered as a nature reserve conserving the property forever.” 

“Over the past couple of months I and a group of volunteers have been readying an exciting new trail system which will showcase some of the incredible features of the property. For the next few weeks, while Heaven’s Gate Trail will still be available, official access to the new trails will await development of the parking lot and main access. The plan is to have the main access at Whitefish Falls with connections to the new trail system, the La Cloche Provincial Park and to Willisville Mountain. We at the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy feel incredibly grateful for the local generosity that turned a ‘pipe dream’ into a reality.”

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this project so that now everyone, today and into the future can enjoy this amazing, wild space.

Kaboni receives provincial award 

Clinton Kaboni (son of Wayne Kaboni of Wiikwemkoong) was awarded the Premier’s Award for Indigenous Youth Excellence in Sports on Friday for his contributions to the game of lacrosse and his community. The 18-year-old was one of six outstanding athletes across the Interior named as a recipient by the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council. Clinton, who resides in Merritt B.C., said that he was “honoured to be recognized” and thanked his coaches and especially his family. Way to go, Clinton!

Blast from the past!

Randy Russon, a long-time Northern Ontario sports writer, recently mused nostalgic in his blog about the Manitoulin Islanders. (The Islanders were renamed after starting out as the Wild). As Randy pointed out, “They didn’t win many games. But for the most part, they tried hard, worked hard, were entertaining to watch and fun to write about. In short, they were a collection of delightful rogues who played together and stuck together as the Manitoulin Islanders of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.” I thought I would include part of his piece as I still remember many of these names fondly and I’m sure many of you will too!

“In their initial season of 2005-2006 they were led by coach-general manager Todd Stencill and his trusted assistant, Manitoulin native Lawrence Enosse. On the ice, the Islanders of 2005-2006 featured a multitude of memorable players such as goalie Billy Stone, forwards Jody Biedermann, Curtis Johnson, Johnny John-George, Carlo Metatawabin, Corey Metatawabin, Dennis French, Brent Henley, Ken May, Jeff Mussen, Mike Moote, Dan Nadeau, Owen Peltier, Joel Villeneuve and defensemen Tyler Corston-Moore, Mark Baker, Dale Herodier, Anthony Fey and Jeff Maronese.

Randy opines that the eventual firing of Stencill was remedied by the hiring of NHL’s “Riverton Rifle” Reggie Leach (in 2008/09) “along with aforementioned Islander coaches, Todd Stencill and Lawrence Enosse remain, to this day, three of the absolute best guys I have ever met in 46 years of covering junior hockey.” 

A good sport is good for sports