Teams from First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities in the area will be headed to Edmonton for the Alberta Native Hockey Championships.
The hockey tournament, sometimes referred to as the league’s “Stanley Cup” will have 232 teams from all over Alberta and the Northwest Territories compete, and the Lloydminster area is no exception. Teams representing Onion Lake, Frog Lake, Cold Lake, Saddle Lake, Goodfish Lake and the Elizabeth Métis Settlement will all be playing.
Priscilla Swampy-Dion, the registrar for 72 teams and the Treaty Six council with the Alberta Native League, says that hockey brings communities together, and has an impact on the players.
“[The players] become so proud that they get to represent their communities. They get to represent their culture. They have opportunity to play in a safe environment. We have players right from initiation to junior, a great big dynamic group of hockey players that come to the city.”
Dion adds that the tournament also has an impact on the communities that the players come from as well, from both a hockey sense and a togetherness sense.
“This is our ‘Stanley Cup.’ This is their opportunity to go as a community. It brings them great pride, it brings them definitely the representation. As far as I’ve been involved, as a hockey mom, as an organizer, this is our year end event, this is our vacation and this creates the best memories ever.”
The Alberta Native Provincial Hockey Championships run from April 5th to 8th. A full list of venues and games can be found on their website.