The puck is dropping for 184 First Nation hockey teams today, competing at the Little NHL tournament in Mississauga.
The tournament was created 52 years ago.
An under-13 girls’ hockey team representing Treaty 3 is participating this time.
Louis Bruyere, a coach with the Fort Frances Girls and Women’s Hockey Association, helped run practices for the team.
He says their involvement in the tournament is a great way to showcase the region’s talent.
“We like to show our talent that we have up here in northwestern Ontario. I know we’re a lot smaller area, and we don’t have as many players to pick from as they do down there. But it’s going to be a great experience for those girls to go down and see such a big tournament and also have to see all these different people from different Indigenous communities all banding together and having a great time,” says Bruyere.
The tournament is divided into a competitive and recreational side.
The Treaty #3 Ogimaakweg are competing against five other teams in their division.
Bruyere says it is not about wins and losses, though.
“This is for the experience. Some of the girls that we have maybe been playing hockey for a couple of years, but then we have some of the more experienced girls that play AAA hockey. So it’s a good mix.”
Several other young hockey players from the Treaty 3 territory are also taking part.
They signed up as an individual and are playing on teams needing extra bodies.
Opening ceremonies took place on Sunday, with the first games played today.
The tournament will wrap up on Thursday.