On Friday April 29, Male and Female Team Atlantic, along with their coaches and chaperones boarded a bus in Moncton, headed towards Mississauga, ON to take part in a six-day tournament which began on May 2.
Eight teams, representing approximately 400 Indigenous youth attended the event which featured coaching & skills camps, cultural activities and a gala for the athletes.
Upon their arrival in Mississauga, Team Atlantic went directly to the rink at the Iceland Sports Complex for their scheduled exhibition games against Team North. Although there wasn't much of a chance to get prepared for these games, both teams worked hard and did well.
The following day, the athletes and their coaches went to accreditation and had an opportunity to practice as a team. That evening, all teams were invited to the Hockey Hall of Fame for the opening ceremonies. The teams really enjoyed their experience there and had an opportunity to explore the hall and take pictures of some hockey memorabilia.
Although they spent a large amount of their time at the rink, they had other activities to do besides hockey. Team Atlantic athletes were given the opportunity to take part in yoga and they had school work to complete each day. Also, all teams that attended the tournament were given tickets to attend a Blue Jays game.
Team Atlantic fought hard but could not get a win during their round robin or quarter-final games. In the relegation game, Female Team Atlantic come up with a 3-1 win over Team North.
Erin Denny, one of the youngest players with Team Atlantic said that she loved having the opportunity to travel across Canada to play the sport she loves. “I really loved being able to play with the older girls. Some of the other teams we played against are older and faster but it made me push myself to play my hardest all the time.” She went on to say that, “this was one of the first big trips I ever went on without my parents so that was pretty hard at first but I loved meeting new people and we really bonded as a team. The Team Atlantic staff was unbelievable and I can’t thank them enough for everything they did for us over that week. ”
Shawn Gould, a player in his final year at NAHC said that playing in a high level tournament with top First Nation Players from all over Canada for the past three years was a highlight for him. “I was proud to represent my community and the entire Atlantic region as a member of Team A.” When asked if he had any advice for the younger players coming to the tournament he said he would tell them to stay fit and work hard and remember to leave it all on the ice. “It’s an opportunity they will never forget.”
To find out more about the final standings, official scores and individual awards please visit; http://nahc.aswco.ca/final-standings-official-scores-individual-awards/