C.R.E.E. Minor Hockey Tournament & Hockey Season Roundup

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Spring hockey was in full swing earlier this month, as the 25th Annual Cree Minor Hockey Tournament took place with games in Val-d’Or, Senneterre and Malartic. An impressive 111 teams participated in 13 competitive and recreational categories, ranging from Beginner to Midget, including some impressive performances in the Girls Bantam Hockey category.

The Lac Simon Wild outscored opponents by a stunning 38-8 margin while going undefeated in four games on their way to victory in Girls Bantam Hockey. The Wild dominated in preliminary wins over Mistissini, Chisasibi and Waskaganish, but faced stiff competition from Whapmagoostui in the final.

Whapmagoostui struggled during the preliminary stage of the tournament, dropping two contests including a 7-1 loss to Mistissini, but the club got its revenge with a 7-4 win in a semi-final match-up with Mistissini that set the stage for its showdown with Lac Simon in the tourney final.

final MHCfinal BHC

The Waskaganish Bardown used distributed scoring and a stingy defence to top 10 other teams in the Midget Competitive category. Waskaganish received goals from seven Bardown shooters, while holding opponents to just six total goals during its six-game unbeaten run to a championship banner.

The Bardown posted shutout wins over Waswanipi and the Chisasibi Thunder Eagles, and recorded a decisive 5-1 win in the final, shutting down a Rapid Lake offence that earned a berth BEGH-Waskaganish mini wingsin the championship game by scoring 16 total goals in three playoff victories.

Nemaska’s Gregory Trudeau led all scorers in Midget Competitive with three goals and eight assists for 11 points, while teammate Dylan Cheezo led all goal scorers with six.
Ten teams participated in the Midget Recreational category. Gabby Kioke, Sebastian Sutherland and Damian Kioke combined for 34 total points for the James Bay Moose Attwapiskaw. But James Bay failed to find its offensive touch in its tournament final match-up, dropping a 2-1 decision to the Moose Cree.

That marked the Moose Cree’s second 2-1 win over James Bay Moose Attwapiskaw in Midget Recreational action at this year’s tournament, and avoided surrendering more than one goal in each of their six wins, while outscoring opponents 25-3.

The Chisasibi BlizzardPNH waskaganish mini wingss overcame a slow start at this year’s tournament to raise the championship banner in Pee Wee Competitive action. The Blizzards blew an early 2-0 lead in their tourney opener against Lac Simon Warriors en route to a 6-4 loss, but rebounded with four straight wins, capped by a 7-2 victory over the Waskaganish Wings in the category final.

Blizzards sniper Mayson Sam led all scorers with 10 goals and 12 points, including six markers during the tourney playoffs, and Mistissini’s Joe Shecapio amassed a tournament-leading 13 penalty minutes.

The Chisasibi Beavers needed a pair of one-goal victories to take home the title in Atom Competitive, including a 5-4 victory over Rapid Lake in the category final. Rapid Lake enjoyed more success in Novice Competitive, with the Lil’ Thunder averaging 7.6 goals per game during their march to the championship.

The youngsters dominated the ice with 14 teams competing in Pre-Novice Hockey, and additional three squads entertained fans in the Beginner’s Hockey category.


Photos by Jonathan Levert – www.imagenomadeproduction.com

The First Nations hockey season will come to a close with the 2017 National Aboriginal Hockey Championships, which gets underway in Cowichan, BC, starting on April 30.

Players from Eeyou Istchee have historically made their mark at the NAHC by playing with Eastern Door and North. The ED&N men’s squad will be looking to improve on a fifth-place finish at last year’s tournament, while the women hope to rebound after finishing sixth a year ago.

16 Cree hockey players will be competing for the Eastern Door and the North male and female teams. On the female team: Madison Blackned and Keona Simard (defence) Nikisha Ottereyes and Destinee Jimikin (forwards). On the male team: goalie Trevor Cooper, defensemen Fabain Petagumskum, River Gull, Linden Namagoose, Derian Hester and Jarius Moar, plus forwards Brandon Wadden, Errol Hester, Linden Spencer, Braden Wynne and Marty Visitor.


The Val-d’Or Foreurs of the QMJHL saw their junior hockey season end with a four-game sweep by the Saint John Sea Dogs in the second round of this year’s postseason, but it was a great campaign overall for Eastmain’s Adam Cheezo, who netted 10 goals and 25 assists while patrolling right wing in 66 games for the Foreurs.

Foreurs forward Adam Cheezo

Waswanipi’s Silas Mattawashish also opened the season in Val-d’Or, picking up one assist in 33 appearances, before joining the AAA Valleyfield Braves in January.


Out west, Ethan Bear of the Ochapowace First Nation in Saskatchewan is fast developing a reputation as one of the brightest young stars in the game since being selected by the Edmonton Oilers in the fifth round of the 2014 NHL Draft.

Bear has continued to blossom and will likely compete for a spot on the Oilers next season after scoring 70 points in 67 games with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds, earning him a nod as a first-team all-star for a second straight year, and Top Defenceman honours in the WHL Western Conference.


First Nations hockey is also well represented in this year’s NHL Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Montreal Canadiens bolstered their third line at the NHL trade deadline with the addition of two-time Stanley Cup winner Dwight King. A product of Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, King raised Lord Stanley’s mug as a member of the Los Angeles Kings in 2012 and 2014, and joins superstar goaltender Carey Price of BC’s Ulkatcho First Nation, who is looking to lead the Habs to their first Cup win since 1993.

Micheal Ferland established himself as one of the NHL’s top agitators as a member of the Calgary Flames this season, scoring 15 goals and 10 assists while playing regularly with stars Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, but the Cree from Swan River, Manitob,a has struggled along with the rest of his teammates during their first-round match-up with the Anaheim Ducks.

Manitoba’s Jordin Tootoo has seen limited action with the Chicago Blackhawks during this year’s playoffs, while American Ojibwe TJ Oshie has been a steady producer for the Washington Capitals in their first-round clash with the Toronto Maple Leafs after netting 56 points in just 68 games during the regular season.


The legendary Jonathan Cheechoo reportedly called it a career at the conclusion of this year’s KHL season. The 36-year-old from Moose Factory, Ontario was selected 29th overall by the San Jose Sharks in the 1998 NHL Draft, and went on to become the first Cree player to reach the 50-goal mark, potting 56 goals during the 2005-2006 NHL campaign to claim the Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophy.

Cheechoo remained active after playing his last NHL game in 2010 with the Ottawa Senators, spending the past four seasons in the KHL, tallying 14 goals and 26 assists in 60 games with Bratislava Slovan this season.

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