The weekend of March 16-18 the Cree Nation of Mistissini hosted the first-ever James Bay League finals. Teams from across the Cree Nation participated in the categories of Novice, Atom, Pee Wee, Bantam and Midget hockey. This is quite an accomplishment considering that up until the past couple years few teams were part of the Quebec hockey system.
The Cree Nation has its own branch of the Abitibi Federation, bringing both the opportunity to compete in league, regional tournaments and provincial championships, but also the insurance associated with such affiliation – an important factor for our children that includes participation and travel.
The event brought in teams from Chisasibi, Eastmain, Wemindji, Waswanipi, Ouje-Bougoumou and Waskaganish, along with local Mistissini competing for the title of regional championship in each age group.
Gordon Brien from Mistissini, who coordinated this weekend of hockey, stated that it was a lot of work and time but the end result is that our youth participate and have fun.
The Abitibi Regional finals, from which the winners will advance to the Provincial Championships, will take place in various venues including Barraute and Rouyn-Noranda the weekend of March 23-25.
In relation to Cree Nation Hockey, the provincial Aboriginal contingent for the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships will be hosting its second selection camp March 28-29 in Kahnawake. The best Aboriginal Bantam and Midget hockey players will be coming together to put together this year’s team. There are about twelve girls and ten to twelve boys from the Cree Nation trying out to compete for the crown of National Aboriginal Hockey Champion. More information will follow.