Ice Chips & Canoe Quips

NOHA incentive for officials!

With the hot weather we have had the last week, hanging out in a nice cool rink might be top of mind. The Northern Ontario Hockey Association (NOHA) has been thinking of the rink for a while now. They have an urgent need that they need to solve before the upcoming season. Every year there is always a call for more on and off-ice officials due to the high turn-over and retirement of veteran referees. The last couple of years has put an unusual strain on the retention of officials and are going to offer a generous incentive for those interested in joining the essential ranks.

The NOHA is concerned that games will have to be cancelled for the 2022/23 campaign if they are not able to attract new blood. With that in mind, new officials are being offered free registration, whistles, pants and jerseys thanks to a grant they received from the Ontario Sports Network. NOHA acknowledges that there is still work to be done educating players, coaches and parents on showing respect to officials. However, they are improving and now with this recruitment incentive they hope to at least remove some of the financial hurdles. For more information, you can contact the NOHA or your local minor hockey association for details.

Active Assiginack

Manitowaning held its first Youth 3-Pitch tournament on a trial basis to judge if it could offer more than the two age divisions. By all accounts there was enough interest to offer, at least one more, younger division. Events coordinator Jackie White was amazed to witness the incredible the improvement shown by players over the weekend.

She recalls a couple of incidents that made all of the effort setting up the weekend worth it on their own. One girl got picked up the week before the tournament to play. She was a summer resident, and her first time up to bat ever, as she had never played ball. Her parents went two days before the tournament to get her a glove. On her first hit, she got to first base but didn’t know to stop so kept running the bases… “well darn if she didn’t get all the way around and score a run!” The crowd went wild.

“One little team, and by little I mean 8-11 years old, with t-shirts hanging to their knees, played a semifinal game and came  back from being down 7-2 to tie it up! They ended up losing but that game… that moment was one of the highlights of the weekend.”

Congratulations to all participants and huge thanks to the umpires who volunteered: Ron Cooper, Larry Harasym, Scot Hughson, Jamie McCarville and Ryan Stewart.

Manitoulin gravel hones cyclist!

Evan Bayer, famous in these parts for his running and hockey skills, got into cycling in a serious way over the last few years and has been throwing sand and gravel at his opponents ever since. He has demonstrated his prowess in road and mountain bike races but has recently been caught up with the interest in ‘Gravel Races.’ The courses take in a lot of secondary and back roads and are usually around 100km in distance.

He just finished his third of the season and has been on the podium in every one. In the Ghost of the Gravel event and around three hours and forty minutes of hard racing he finished third. However, to demonstrate how competitive the races was, he was only 18 seconds off of first place but he was nine minutes in front of the fourth rider! He then came second at ‘The Range’ event.

At last week’s Cochrane Crusher he was again, second! Evan, always looking to be at his best, felt sluggish. He worried that he just should have done better. He reflected importantly that it was the “Best I could do on the day.”

Manitoulin Pickleball invites you to “Come out and Play!”

Ontario Pickleball has adopted that welcoming phrase and so has the Manitoulin Pickleball Group. Just last week the Manitoulin Pickleball Group, in cooperation with the Township of Assiginack (Jackie White, arena manager/events coordinator) painted pickleball court lines on one of the outdoor tennis courts.

So in addition to the Assiginack Tuesday evening indoor play there is the option of outdoor pickleball available on the public courts. So, on behalf of everyone involved the group would like to invite you to “Come out and play!” It’s fun to feel young! Thanks to Bud, George, Carmen and Jacob who painted the Pickleball court lines.

A good sport is good for sports.