Ice Chips and Canoe Quips

Tennis and flies on Manitoulin!

The Manitoulin Tennis Club hosted their opening ‘Black Fly’ Tournament this past weekend with a wide variety of players from 17- to 82-years-old. The black flies weren’t too bad but fun was had by all. Thanks to all who participated.

The club’s regular tennis sessions will begin on Sunday, May 29 and continue every Sunday and Wednesday at 6 pm at the Manitoulin Secondary School tennis courts. New members are always welcome to come and play, and lessons are available if needed for any age. Join the Facebook group for more information: “Manitoulin Tennis Club.” They hope to see you on the courts!

A great volunteer honoured

Mr. Wiggins was honoured by the NOHA (Northern Ontario Hockey Association) last week for his extreme volunteer efforts that have spanned 45 years in his role as an excellent referee.

I have known Mr. (Bruce) Wiggins for many years in a few different roles. I first knew him as my teacher in Grades 6 and 7. I then knew him as a referee as I played hockey and finally, I knew him as a referee when I became a coach. In all of these capacities he was strict but fair. He also expected a lot of students and players but knew just the right way to make sure everyone had fun.

As a teacher he expected a lot of us academically and behaviourally but he always did it in a way where we felt supported and that he cared. He had high expectations but treated individuals in the way that allowed them to reach their potential. If you made a mistake he corrected us in a way that improved our learning.

My next connection was as a player with Mr. Wiggins as a referee. My teammates and I felt those same familiar supports on the ice or bench. He was strict with the rules but always kept things light-hearted and learned from our mistakes. The thing that stood out to me then was that Mr. Wiggins was the exact same way with our opponents earning respect across Manitoulin.

When I moved back to the Island and started coaching hockey for my son and daughter’s teams it was always great to have Bruce in stripes for our games because you could always expect that even-handed and generous treatment. When the kids were in Tykes he was always patient to pick up the fallen or out-of-positioned. He being a teacher at heart was always encouraging and educating both how to act and how to play. Finally I would see him passing on these amazing skills on to the newer referees thereby ensuring top-notch reffing for our area.

Manitoulin Minor Hockey has been blessed to have Mr. Wiggins in its organization as has the NOHA. I wish him all the best in his next few years of officiating and thank him very much for everything he has given me and our community.

March on for the Food Bank!

On Saturday, May 28 there is a great fitness event happening to support the many people who operate, need and volunteer at the Help Center Food Bank in Mindemoya, run by Manitoulin Family Resources. This inaugural event will begin at the township office in Kagawong. Please help raise awareness of our communities’ need by joining the march or donating a non-perishable food product or monetary gift along the route or to Dean’s Valu-Mart in Gore Bay, Guardian Drug stores in Little Current and Manitowaning or directly to the MFR Help Centre in Mindemoya.

The fun begins at 9 am in Kagawong then an easy 15km walk to M’Chigeeng for a rest at the Band Office and then a 12km jaunt to Mindemoya at the MFR headquarters on Forest Street.

Locals excel

Kudos to Wikwemikoong’s Marion Jacko on winning the Presidency of the Mississauga Girl’s Minor Hockey Association. A large, progressive organization, Mississauga is lucky to have a person of Marion’s background heading up their girls’ hockey program. By the way, Ms. Jacko was coach of the successful Ontario female entry in the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships held a few weekends ago.

Wiky fastball player Lyle Baibomcowai not only had a birthday this past weekend but was also invited to play in a competitive tournament this weekend in Kelowna, B.C. That’s quite an adventure for a young lad. Congrats Lyle.

Last chance for Legion track and field opportunity!

The Legion Branch 514 from Gore Bay will cover the entry fee for athletes who are interested in attending the District ‘H’ Legion Track and Field Meet on June 11! The 2016 meet at Laurentian University in Sudbury is a great event and the stepping stone to the provincials and eventual nationals as Evansville’s Joseph Maxwell did on his to becoming a Canadian Legion record holder!

Interested members of the Manitoulin Legion Track Team are requested to contact Daryl Leighton at (705) 282-9946 or by email at: There is a maximum of four events per athlete. The deadline to send him information for on-line registration is May 30, but please contact him in advance so that he can provide the necessary forms; don’t miss out!

Dad sends his wishes

Condolences to a former member of the Manitoulin Panthers, Josh Manitowabi, on the recent passing of his father Louis (Luigi) Manitowabi. Louis passed after a number of years of deteriorating health. Often in pain he didn’t let his illness slow him down as he was active with the Wikwemikong Agricultural Society, the 4H club and other community activities. I often saw Louis at hockey games as he was a great fan. Despite his pain he always was friendly and never failed to make me smile. Besides Josh he is also survived by wife Agnes and daughters Lenore and Robin. RIP Louis. Joshua was a strong two-way forward with the Panthers in the early 1990s.

A good sport is good for sports.