M’CHIGEENG – M’Chigeeng First Nation hockey player Zaagaasge Toulouse (Zee for short) has been chosen to play on a North American team to play in Europe.
“Zaagaasge made the European team in 2020 but due to COVID-19 the tournament in Europe was delayed,” stated Clara Corbiere, Zee’s grandmother. “She will be playing on the team made up of players from the United States and Canada. She was the only Indigenous player and the only player from Northern Ontario chosen for the team.”
As soon as travel restrictions are lessened the team will play in Europe. However, Zee’s team will be playing with the team in several upcoming tournaments in Canada, in Montreal from June 30-July 3 for the Montreal Meltdown tournament, in St. Hyacinthe, Quebec for the Girls Future Stars Invitational July 16-18 and the War for the Roses in Edmonton August 11-22.
“They haven’t been able to play any games, but Zee has been meeting with the team during Zoom training sessions,” said Ms. Corbiere. “We will be leaving Thursday (of last week) to Toronto where she will be on the ice with the team, and they will all receive their uniforms, helmets and gloves.”
As noted above, Zee’s team is made up of players from the United States and Canada, among top players that have been previously scouted. In 2018, Zee made a sojourn overseas to Italy and France as a member of the Canadian Pro-development team. Zee’s team did well in the tournaments, playing five games, but Zee was only able to play in four, and although she played the last game, she was a long way from being 100 percent healthy as the team was struck by a flu-like ailment that laid most of the young women low.
One of Zee’s goals is firmly sighted on making it on the Canadian Olympic team and dreams of scholarships dance frequently in her head. A not unrealistic dream by any standard, given her hockey performance so far.
“In 2018, Zee played for the Sudbury Junior AAA Wolves team, and scouts saw her when she played in southern Ontario and invited her for a tryout,” said Ms. Corbiere. Last season Zee skated with the Manitoulin Panthers team, until December.
“I am pretty proud that she has made the (United States Canada) team,” stated Ms. Corbiere. They were delayed by COVID-19 but the team will move forward to play in Europe, hopefully soon, she said.
Zee, who plays defence, celebrated her 14th birthday this past March. “She has been really excited since she had her birthday, because scouts really take a good look at players once they reach that age. She is hoping to get a scholarship into a university or college.” Her granddaughter noted Zee wants to become a pathologist.
And now that she has turned 14, “Zee feels she has two years to make the (Canada) Olympic team. Her goal is to be on the Olympic team by the age of 16 and be the first aboriginal player on the Canada team,” the proud nokomis added.
In a Facebook post last week, Ms. Corbiere wrote, “thank you for supporting our taco sale for my granddaughter Zaagaasge. Also to those who kindly donated cash to our efforts, we received $260 in cash donations (with a total of $520 being raised in taco sales). For those who were asking, Zaagaasge was chosen to play on a North American team in Europe.”