Training camps opened this month for teams in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and Western Hockey League (WHL). Among the hundreds of 16- to 20-year-olds attending these camps are a number of young hockey players from Cree communities across Canada.

Waskaganish’s Brett Hester is attending his 2nd training camp with the Val-d’Or Foreurs of the QMJHL. Read about Brett and his younger brother Alexander, who is in camp with Midget AAA Forestiers d’Amos, on page 20 of this issue.

Four other players are also attending QMJHL camps. Jonah Coonishish-Coon, who hails from Mistissini, is in camp with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. Coonishish-Coon, who turns 18 this season, spent last season as a left-winger with the Lewiston Maineiacs and was picked up by the Titan after the Maineiacs folded.

Silas Neeposh is attempting to make the jump to the QMJHL with the Chicoutimi Saguenéens. The 18-year-old defenseman joins Chicoutimi after a solid season with Midget AAA Forestiers d’Amos, where he racked up 24 points in 42 games along with 56 penalty minutes.

Neeposh’s teammate in Amos, Deverick Ottereyes, is in camp with the PEI Rocket. Selected by the Rocket in the 8th round of the 2011 QMJHL draft, Ottereyes hopes to help the Rocket compete with divisional rivals like the 2011 Memorial Cup champs Saint John Sea Dogs.

Fellow Forestier Andrew Kistabish was invited to training camp with the Shawinigan Cataractes, but may return to Amos for another season of Midget AAA.

In Ontario, Josh Moore, a 16-year-old Moose Cree band member, is at camp with the OHL’s Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors. Moore, who plays both left wing and centre, was selected in the 15th round of the OHL draft on May 7. In 2010/2011, he played with the Sudbury Minor Midget Wolves, where he recorded an impressive 69 points in 42 games.

In western Canada, Todd Fiddler from Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan returns to the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders after a strong rookie season last year. Jared Iron of Canoe Lake First Nation is seeking to crack the Kootenay Ice lineup after a strong 2010 season which included playing on the Canada West Under-17 squad.