AUNDECK OMNI KANING—Samuel Assinewai of Aundeck Omni Kaning (AOK) First Nation was a member of the silver medal winning Canada East squad at the World Junior A Challenge (WJAC) in Cornwall, Ontario.
“It was awesome,” stated Mr. Assinewai, 18, a forward, who was the lone Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League representative on the Canada East team.
Samuel had been one of 22 players chosen to play for Team Canada. A total of 32 players had been invited to the Canada East selection camp. “The camp was two days long, not much time (to make an impression on coaches) and I had no clue if I was going to make the team.”
“It was just amazing to make the team,” said Mr. Assinewai. “And then we played well in the tournament and made it to the gold medal game.” Canada East had earned a thrilling semi-final victory over Canada West, on Saturday, December 17 before they dropped the WJAC final against the United States by a 5-2 score on December 18.
Samuel pointed out, “I didn’t play on the power play or penalty kill, but the ice time was still there. I was still out there. It was all awesome.”
Samuel joined his Greater Sudbury Cubs team last Thursday, notching two assists in his first game back.
Seven years ago, Little Current’s Michael Laidley also played in the WJAC tournament as captain of Canada East.