The 45th LNHL or Little Native Hockey League Tournament is taking place in Mississauga, Ontario on March 14 – 17, 2016. The games start on Monday March 14 and the Opening Ceremonies will take place at the Hershey Centre on Sunday, March 13, 2016 at 7 pm.
Games will take place at the Hershey Centre and the Iceland, Tomken & Meadowvale Arenas. This year there are 194 teams representing First Nations across Ontario.
The LNHL pillars are Respect, Education, Citizenship and Sportsmanship. President of the LNHL Marvin Assinewai says “The Little NHL Tournament has created countless memories everlasting new and old friendships from our Anishinabek across Ontario.”
This is a family event where many of these families travel every year to watch our future play the game we love.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recognizes this tournament and says “Your efforts have united the community through a shared love of Canada’s favourite winter game.”
Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee says “Every team has the goal of winning their division, but the memories of participating in the high level competition will be something that you will always remember.”
Chief R. Stacey Laforme of Mississauga of New Credit First Nation says “A tournament that is a testament to the rich history of our peoples in sport. It has truly become a cultural event here in Ontario. This tournament has had its share of towns and cities but where ever it calls home for that year people will travel to watch, participate, volunteer and cheer. The Founding First Nations said “Tomorrow, brings new hope and indeed new dreams for the LNHL Tournament. We have much to dream about thanks in large part to those dreamers of 1970/71. Thank you for sharing your dreams.”
It is because of these dreams that throughout the tournament you may still feel the presence of elders, participants, spectators, and volunteers past watching and cheering at every rink they play. Many dignitaries and former players who have continued to play in leagues as high as the NHL may frequent the arenas happily speaking with the players and signing autographs.
Former Chief Jim McGregor says “It’s not if you win or lose, but how much you tried and how fairly you played.” These are words that are repeated by our coaches to instill the teachings to our future. With all the support we have you must always keep your eyes open. You never know who you will see catching a game.