2012 MLTC selection camps underway

by Terry Villeneuve

On Sunday afternoon at the midget hockey tryout camp at PineRidge Ford Place on Flying Dust, had about 40 potential players hit the ice, anticipating to make the 23-team roster of 18 skaters, two goalies and three alternates.

Leading the on-ice drills was Craig McCallum, a member of the Canoe Lake Cree Nation and currently playing with the U of S Huskies hockey team.

“We are utilizing our own (First Nation) players in our evaluating and Craig is one of the best we have,” said Terrance Sylvestre, MLTC’s director of player development. “It’s been a pretty busy weekend for Craig – he was in Birch Narrows yesterday (Jan. 28) for the Atom and Peewee division and then here today to work with the Bantam and Midget groups.”

Sylvestre in confident the tribal council’s hockey teams will again be strong adding volleyball has also traditionally been a sport where they excel.

“We’ve also noticed there is a lot of interest in badminton this year, so we’re looking forward to winning medals in that sport as well.”

Billy Mitsuing of the Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation takes off in a skating exercise Sunday during the midget selection camp.

Preparations for the upcoming Saskatchewan First Nations Winter Games are now in full swing as athletes from the nine bands that fall under the MLTC umbrella hope to be selected.

Other sports at the First Nation games include mixed curling, female broomball and 3-on-3 basketball.

“Basketball’s a demonstration sport this year as we’re tying to have it become a main sport,” said Sylvestre. “It was there two other times as 5-on-5, but there wasn’t enough interest. With the new format, we’re hoping for a good response this time around.”

Although team MLTC did not win the winter championship last time, Sylvestre noted they’ve always been competitive.

“We’ve been in the top four consistently,” he said.

When the games are held April 9-13 in Saskatoon, Sylvestre noted team MLTC will comprise of 270 athletes, 42 coaches and 70 chaperones.

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