December 5,6,7,8, 2002 – Val d’Or
With the advent of the Tommy James Foundation Tournament that was first held in early 1980s, many Aboriginal Nations have come together to take part as players representing their respective communities or as spectators to join the excitement that the prestigious event brings from year to year.
In review of the many exciting years, many players have to come to enjoy the exciting competition in hockey and broomball in different categories offered by the organizing committee of the Cree Nation Invitational Tournament (CNIT). In addition, just recently the CNIT has even added the Women’s Hockey division for the female population.
We can also truly appreciate what the organizing committee has brought in over the years by integrating other supplementary entertainment for the participants in general.
However, running an event of this magnitude is not a simple affair! It takes commitment for those involved in carrying out the event namely, the Cree Nation Recreation Directors. This takes a substantial commitment for the directors who will have to leave their families and relatives at home in order to take the time to meet and plan the varied tasks involved. This is to ensure that the tournament work plan is carried out accordingly for the benefit of the Aboriginal Nations that participate from Quebec and Ontario. All of the work is done strictly on a volunteer basis and that the Recreation Directors and their Assistants do not get paid to come to work during this tournament.
On this note, perhaps some have not yet come to understand the work and the type of commitment that involves during the planning, organization, and coordination of the event.
Through the years, although many participants have come to enjoy the events and entertainment during the CNIT, there are those that have encountered obstacles during their participation in the tournament and opposed the rules and regulations as well as some of the activities involved.
The issue of fairness for some participating teams has become more extravagant as they perceive that the event has become more competitive. Perhaps the intent of promoting the spirit of friendship and sportsmanship has been forgotten by few participants nowadays.
In many cases, coaches and players have challenged the activities and have overlooked the set-up of the tournament structure meaning the rules and regulations for the event. There are times that the tournament policies have been forgotten or neglected by teams long before they leave from their respective homes to represent their communities at the CNIT and in turn insist that the onus is on the CNIT organizing committee to fully implement the tournament policies.
Of course, the argument in this case is that many teams have made their plans in advance to join the fun at CNIT and have placed their financial resources toward their travel costs to take part. But the fundamental purpose of the event has slowly been disregarded due to the perception of competitiveness by many coaches or players.
One of the unpleasant activities in running the event is when a protest has been activated and challenged by persons using affiliated authority and not as a participant form. This in some instances has been viewed as an outright interference in carrying out the event and this somewhat defeats the purpose for the event and has caused a slight inconvenience to the organizing committee.
Even though the efforts by the CNIT directors is to ensure the continued success of the tournament, this overview is not with the intent to convince the people to appreciate the work and effort that has been made by those involved in the previous successful tournaments and to this day. The sole purpose of these highlights is to convince the teams to remember the intent of the event and not forget to align their plans according to the tournament set-up prior to their departures from home.
It is indeed sad to inform the communities that this very organization (CNIT), which the recreation directors created for these athletes, will cease to exist. It is sad of the way CNIT closed its doors in which some players, coaches and participants showed no respect of what it was created for. This organization was mainly created for their benefit, but unfortunately, many still do not respect the organization’s intentions. We read such statements and comments from players and it sadness me to understand that these people still do not realize what we try to do for their communities and their athletes.
In its place, the Recreation Directors are proud to unveil: C.R.E.E. (Cree Regional Events & Entertainment). The C.R.E.E. will host a variety of events, tournaments, and entertainment (concerts, etc.) and will focus on the main purpose of its intent, which is to promote the spirit of friendship and sportsmanship at all levels. Athletes will be able to display their talents and skills at any level of their respect sport. Participants will enjoy the excitement and know the importance of having these types of events and entertainment and why it is important to have such events as Cree people.
Welcome to C.R.E.E. and enjoy its benefits and its intentions!!!
In the spirit of friendship and sportsmanship
Happy New Year!
JB Loon, On Behalf of the
CNIT Directors and Assistants