Ice Chips to Canoe Quips: January 18, 2023

ITO pleased with Leafs’ steps

Indigenous Tourism Ontario’s CEO, Kevin Eshkawkogan and his team was instrumental in making strides towards more Indigenous inclusion and recognition at the recent Maple Leafs’ Indigenous Appreciation game. ITO had over 100 people participating before, during and after the big game. Several Manitoulin families from Wikwemikong, Aundeck Omni Kaning and M’Chigeeng attended tourism workshops with Kevin’s group on Saturday leading up to the game.

Last week, I referenced the sign that displayed on the screen meant to honour the late great, Leaf Captain, George Armstrong. The sign said,”Big Chief Shoot the Puck – 10” and it struck me as out of place in 2022 despite its intention. When I asked Kevin about his thoughts he wanted to focus more on the positive changes.

“Although there is a lot more work to do, the Leafs outdid themselves and set the bar for all professional sports teams in the way they were celebrating Indigenous traditions, food, dance, people and community. Indigenous Tourism Ontario is incredibly proud to have supported this amazing event.”

“Only five years ago, this type of event wasn’t at the forefront of anyone’s mind. This was a very positive event and Indigenous Tourism Ontario is already looking to do more with the Leafs beyond Saturday night. We also look forward to further engaging with other sports teams at all levels across Ontario.”

Well said, Kevin and keep up the great work!

Local Lady Wolf

Delaney Bridgeman and her Sudbury Lady Wolves U18 A teammates were in Toronto last week for the 2023 Toronto Aeros Holiday Classic. The girls opened 8:15 Friday morning with a groggy 1-1 tie against one of the hometown North York Storm teams, #3030 (they have 4 U18 A sides). Friday afternoon they dispatched the #3033 NY Storm 4-1. Then they faced the U15 AA Durham West Lightning. Going in against a AA team, the girls knew they were likely facing a skilled group, but the age difference would mean the U18’s would probably have a size advantage. They were right on the first account, the DWL team were quick, adept stick handlers and several of the girls had admirable shots. Turns out there was no size advantage. The SLWs played it tough, but a fluke first period goal, one that saw the SLW goalie catch an edge moving from side to side and falling out of the net, giving a yawning cage to the attacker, who made no mistake, looked like it was going to stand up as the difference. Then DWL scored an insurance counter punch goal as the SLW were pressing for the tie.

The 2-0 loss put Sudbury in the quarter finals on Saturday night against the Stoney Creek Sabres. Up 2-0 going into the 3rd, what looked like a lock turned into a game as the Sabres potted one early to make it 2-1. The Stoney Creek side then took advantage of a bad SLW penalty, with under 3 minutes to play, and with the goalie out for a 6 on 4 power play the Sabres tied it up with under a minute to go. Off to OT 3 on 3 for 5 minutes that settled nothing and suddenly a shootout was upon them. Both teams managed 1 in the regulation 3 attempts, so it was sudden death, for 6 more rounds, before Mercedes Zazulak ended it and put the girls through to the semis against, Durham West again. On Sunday however, the girls came out flat and found themselves down 3-0 at the end of the first. Despite picking up their play, that deficit was the difference and the Lady Wolves were out in the semis, 4-1.

Prov hosts skating oportunities

Providence bay has released their schedule to start this coming Sunday. Starting at 12 to 1 is the Learn to Skate program. After that Public skating goes until 3PM and then Sponge-Puck for all ages until 5.

NHL’er was inspirational

The tributes and condolences are coming from everywhere with the passing of former NHL player, Gino Odjick. Gino was a fan favourite wherever he played but was most well-known for helping the Canucks through to game seven of the Stanley Cup finals against the New York Rangers in 1994. He was often lumped in the enforcer category but many accolades from coaches and players alike tell the story of a well-rounded player. Off ice he was known as a joker in the dressing room when the team needed lightening up and a leader when it was time to get serious.

Although he was from Maniwaki Quebec, Gino made genuine connections to people everywhere. He was always willing to help out a fundraisers and mentor young Indigenous hockey players. He was a real people-person and a great ambassador of the game. He may be known for having two fights in his first NHL game, but it was his two major bouts with a rare blood cancer that ended his path at only 52.

A good sport is good for sports