LITTLE CURRENT—The Manitoulin Panthers bantam hockey team is kicking off the March Break with fast-paced hockey action beginning this Friday morning when they host the Northern Ontario Hockey Association’s (NOHA) Bantam Tournament of Champions (TOC).
Manitoulin Panthers President Craig Abotossaway urges all Islanders to “come out and support the local bantam team” as they take on seven teams from around the North.
“The bantams have had a stronger second half to the season and they’re really coming together as a team,” Mr. Abotossaway said. “They look to have a strong showing.”
Both Mr. Abotossaway and Lori Green-Case, one of the lead organizers of the TOC, noted that the March Break is book ended with TOCs, with the bantams as hosts this weekend and the midgets hosting another the following weekend. Manitoulin has been proven to be worthy hosts with past TOCs as stories of Island hospitality and its good hockey have spread. Both tournaments are taking place at the Northeast Town Recreation Centre in Little Current.
“We must be doing something right,” Ms. Green-Case laughed. “Of the TOCs we’ve attended, we have set the bar pretty high.”
Ms. Green-Case noted that the Manitoulin Panthers teams, including the bantams, are a real Island team with every community, from east to west and everywhere in-between, represented by the young players.
Fans of the game are encouraged to attend the opening ceremonies this Friday evening, March 7, at the arena with a drumming ceremony, the singing of the national anthem by Katie Harper and the official puck drop at 6:50 pm. The opening ceremonies will be followed immediately by the hometown team taking to the ice to challenge Iroquois Falls.
The weekend will also include 50/50 draws, a raffle table with “great prizes” and a Saturday night spaghetti supper beginning at 5:30 pm hosted by Skate Canada Manitoulin.
The Manitoulin Panthers’ games can be caught at: 11:30 am on Friday when they take on the Sault Majors and again at 8 pm versus Iroquois Falls and Saturday at 11:40 am versus West Nipissing A-1. The championship game will be decided on Sunday at 3:40 pm.
A weekend pass to the TOC is $10 and day passes are $5 for adults and $2 for children. Seniors and children under 10 are free.
The Manitoulin Panthers bantam team is comprised of Braedan Case of Little Current, Patrick Snowdon of Little Current, Tait Wallace of Little Current, Mike Megwanabe of Birch Island, Adam Goodfellow of Aundeck Omni Kaning, Ethan Corbiere of Aundeck Omni Kaning, Nathan Debassige of M’Chigeeng, Dakotah Hare of M’Chigeeng, Chandler Yashuk-Clark of Gore Bay, Cole King of Mindemoya, Mason Pine of Tehkummah, Noah Moreau of Manitowaning, Greg Doane of Mindemoya and Jalen Waindebence of the Sheguiandah First Nation.
Next weekend, March 14 to 16, the Manitoulin Panther midget team takes over as host of its own Tournament of Champions.
There are fewer teams involved in next week’s tilt, but the bays are bigger and the action is guaranteed to be quick.
The first game is scheduled for Friday, March 14 at 6 pm (Blind River versus Cochrane) and the opening ceremonies take place following the tournament opener at 7:50 pm. The Island team plays after that at 8:30 pm, taking on Timmins.