The Chisasibi Hunters were in fine form as they powered their way undefeated to win the Class A Championships at this year’s Val d’Or tournament.
A 9-2 win over the Waskaganish Wings set the pace on Friday. The next day it was the Waswanipi Chiefs’ turn to feel the pain, by a 6-3 margin. Later on the same day, the Hunters overpowered the Moose Factory Scrappers in a close 4-3 match.
It was on to the semi-finals and another crack atthe Chiefs, who lost to the Hunters 5-3.
In the other semi-final game, the Scrappers took out the Mistissini Trappers in a heated bout. It was widely expected that these two superior teams would end up doing battle in the finals together. Alas, the Trappers were eliminated and the Hunters would take their place.
The Moose Factory-Chisasibi final game was fierce and went into overtime. In the end, it was the Hunters again who dominated 3-2, with great goaltending by Chisasibi’s Stanley Kitty, winner of the Best Coaltending award.
The game was on everybody’s lips afterwards.
“Priorto the tournament, I had predicted Mistissini versus Moose Factory. No one ever predicted Chisasibi to win,” commented Ernie Moses, organizer of the tournament.
“We had a great time. There were no blowouts. They were close games. No casualties, no incidents,” he said.
“The finals were good in almost every aspect, from the Oldtimers to Class A and Broomball, which also went into overtime.”
Ernie said he was getting the itch to get into some skates himself as he watched the action. He saw icetime atthe tourney as a forward and defenceman in the 1980s for the Class B Waskaganish team.
Two athletes really stood out: Dean Roach of Moose Factory, who picked up an award for Best Forward, and Glen Wadden of Chisasibi, who got the Most Valuable Player honour.
“Skating-wise, they were handling the puck really well. It was great to watch their skill and the type of hockey they showed, how they can accelerate and control the play,” said Ernie.
In all, 48 teams participated from as far away as Kahnawake, Peawanuck, ManikaWi and the Huron First Nation. In fact, the Village Huron team went all the way to capture the Class B Championships in a 3-1 victory over Waskaganish No NBR.
Opening up the tourney this year was Francine Weistche, who sang three songs that went over nicely with the audience.
And even those whose attention strayed at times to Val d’Or’s legendary nitelife came back pleased with what transpired on their outings. According to reports. Ah, the memories, the memories.