Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day says this year’s Annual Little NHL tournament, which has a record-breaking 195 teams registered, creates community and builds unity among Ontario First Nation communities. It also injects over $18 million into the local economy, which demonstrates the purchasing power of both Indigenous families and the tournament itself.
“What has become an annual March Break tradition in the First Nation hockey world is now underway in Mississauga, the 45th edition of the Little Native Hockey League Tournament,” said Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day. “There are a record number of teams this year which means there will be that much more excitement for the players, parents, and families who have been planning for months to participate.”
The theme of the 45th Annual Little NHL honours 45 Years of Fan Appreciation and hosted a banquet honouring inductees into the LNHL Hall of Fame on Saturday. Little NHL, will also honour the memory of the late Ember Wynne with a memorial trophy sponsored by Toronto Tourism which will be dedicated to the girls division.
The 45th Annual Little Native Hockey League tournament kicked off Sunday night with opening ceremonies at the rink and continues until Thursday. On Saturday night the Hall of Fame Banquet took place emceed by Anishinabek Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee with a key note address from NHL legend Ted Nolan. Grand Council Chief Mahdabee is a founding member who has participated in every single tournament and is this year’s honourary co-chair.
“It takes a monumental effort for parents, family and the First Nations to get their players to the tournament and they are the best fans ever,” said Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee. “Thank you for 45 fabulous years coming to the LNHL.”
Saturday’s banquet honoured individuals and sponsors who have been instrumental in building the Little NHL into what is today, from past and present executive members, community level advocates and sponsors to all the tireless volunteers.
The tournament started out as a 17-team affair in Manitoulin Island more in 1971 and this year’s installment welcomes 195 teams from all over Ontario for five days in Mississauga utilizing over 10 ice surfaces and approximately 40 hotels generating approximately $18 million into the local economy, according to organizers.
“The LNHL was founded on the pillars of respect, education, citizenship and sportsmanship. It’s hard to believe that 45 years later, the players in that first tournament are now parents and grandparents of some of this year’s participants. They have passed along the torch to a new generation of athletes who will become future leaders,” said Ontario Regional Chief Day.
[author]The Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum and a secretariat for collective decision making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nation communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario, Canada. Follow Chiefs of Ontario on Facebook or Twitter @ChiefsOfOntario.[/author]