A very touching moment for an indigenous team

Even after 62 years, it’s never too late for a big premiere. To date, the Quebec International Peewee Hockey Tournament has never hosted a team composed entirely of players from the Cree Nation. It’s done now and in a brilliant way.

The Cree Nation Bears are far from just showing up. They won their BB class duel against the Barons de Québec Nord-Est 5 to 4 in shootout. A whole feeling of the show!

“It’s a very touching moment for us. There were Cree players here, but not a full team. It’s an honor to be here. We are thankful for all the support we are getting from the people back home. It’s a new experience for our youngsters,” coach William Saganash said afterwards.

Emotionally charged moment

It’s impossible not to grasp the magnitude of the moment for the Cree community.

The pre-game protocol ceremonies were attended by Mandy Gull-Masty, Grand Chief of the Cree Nation, accompanied by Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Ian Lafrenière and Rémy Vincent, Grand Chief of the Huron-Wendat Nation.

In this context, the young bears seemed a bit intimidated when they first visited the Videotron Center before they got started.

“The young people were very excited when they arrived here. You feel honored to be part of it. At the beginning of the game I felt them nervous. In the end they calmed down. »

“We didn’t expect to win, but the honor goes to the youngsters. They are the ones who did the work. For them, the ice is different from what they’ve known before, as is the arena. Everything is new,” he added.

Not easy

Putting together a full Cree team is certainly not easy. If the core is concentrated in the Waswanipi Reserved Area in the Baie James Sector, it will be necessary to search up to 900km north to complete it

“We bring players together for precamps where we select players. There is also a tournament where other selections are made. It is a process that we are all working together as a Cree nation. For some young people it’s very far away, so they stay in school and play hockey in their region,” noted William Saganash.

With the NHL

The NHL creative team, through sponsor Adidas, designed the jerseys proudly worn by the bears.

Young people also wore their official tracksuits in the corridors of the Videotron Center.

“We were provided with the jerseys and all of our tracksuits. It’s something players haven’t had before. We received the dresses just before Christmas and everyone was happy,” noted the pilot.

  • The Bears return to action on Friday morning (8 a.m.) against the Saint-Laurent Spartans. We bet this is just the beginning of a long and successful history with the popular tournament.

On the program today

Videotron Center*

10:30 a.m. BB

  • South Shore Express 2c. Aosta Gladiators

11:45 a.m

  • Beauce-Etchemin rearrangement c. Saguenay Sags 2

1 p.m. AAA

  • Sun County Panthers v. Adirondack Jr. Wings

2:15 p.m. AAA

  • New England Prospects v. Burnaby Winter Club Bruins

3:30 p.m. AAA

  • Los Angeles Jr. Kings v. Whitby Wildcats

16:45 SCHOOL

  • Seacoast Academy Spartans v. College of Lévis Commanders

6 p.m. BB

  • Quebec Women’s Stars Team c. Paris Evry-Viry

7:15 p.m. AAA

  • Quebec Remparts v. Markham Majors

8:30 p.m. AAA

  • Slovakia K&B Stars v. Philadelphia Flyer

* All games of the day are played at the Videotron Center.

Rich experience for young madelinots

There are rare visitors to Quebec this week. A team from the Îles-de-la-Madeleine has traveled to the Pee-Wee tournament for only the fourth time.

The last time was in 2017. You should know that building a team is not an easy task for the Madelinots.

In the entire Îles-de-la-Madeleine area, a total of 39 players were aged this year
to pee.

Under this lot it was necessary to field a two-letter team, but it was difficult to estimate the numbers available considering there was no seasonal game!

“Youth is freaking out”

L’Escouade, a team led by Bernard Arseneau, competed in the Desjardins Cup tournament in Chandler and won top honors.

The same scenario shortly afterwards at the Coupe Dodge in Sept-Îles.

Here is the Quebec team now.

“Young people freak out a lot,” smiled Mr. Arseneau, who has played hockey for 45 years.

“Apart from these tournaments, we’re just training so I won’t say we come here to win the tournament, but we won’t be beaten 12-0,” added the one whose side prevailed 8-2 last night has against Québec Nord-Est, in the BB division.

Nice support

Almost $200,000 had to be raised to enter these three tournaments. For the Coupe Desjardins and Coupe Dodge, island companies and donations from individuals made the adventure possible.

For Quebec it was necessary to use external suppliers.

“It is important to do this so that our young people see the light. We need to show them that they can have great experiences staying at home. In my opinion, one should never leave the family home before the bantam,” said Bernard Arseneau.

For young Madelinots, the experience is rewarding far beyond the results.

The trip to Quebec City will also have allowed them to cross swords with a team from Lithuania on Sunday and they will play the Cree Nation Bears today, both of which will be exhibition games.

  • The tournament itself ends on Sunday 15 May. Until then, there will be a lot of hockey being played and many onsite activities taking place at the Videotron Center.

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