An Indigenous hockey team with players from the Peace is getting itself ready for an upcoming tournament in Alberta.
Reign Lake was originally a U-15 club that was put together to play in the Aboriginal Youth Championships back in 2020.
“The tournament had been cancelled for a couple of years,” explained team manager Connie Greyeyes-Dick. “We originally had a group of under 15s, but with those tournaments cancelled, most of our kids have now aged up to U-18.”
Just as this year’s tournament in Prince George was ending, Greyeyes-Dick said the team received word of the inaugural Memorial Open Elite tournament, a 24-team non-contact event, being played in Red Deer.
“So, the kids said let’s enter this tournament, and I couldn’t say no,” recalled Greyeyes-Dick. “So I started to fund raise and contacted the organizer, not realizing we were entering ourselves in an open tournament,” one that will include adult hockey players.
With a starting foundation of Reign Lake players, she decided to reach out to family members and local hockey teams to round out the team with an age range of players.
Included in the mix are Greyeyes-Dick’s nephew Dawson Phillips and Brandon Modde from the Fort St. John Huskies and Dawson Creek Kodiak forward and cousin, Tanner Lins.
“All in all, it’s going to be a really good experience for them. They’re going to get to play some fast-paced hockey, and I thought it would be fun to have one last hurrah this year.”
Even with the additions, Greyeyes-Dick says the base of the team will still be the U-18 component.
“We’re running the same lines that the younger kids would play on. Guys that we picked up know they are there to enhance the team. They’re not taking anybody’s spot, but to give them a little experience on the ice.”
The team will leave for Red Deer Thursday.
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