Team MLTC places fourth at Winter Games

Youth from the northwest were front and centre last week during the 2012 First Nation Winter Games held in Saskatoon April 8-13. Above, female hockey players (l-r) Delaney Ross, Mallory Roy and Taylor Derocher lead Team MLTC participants in the parade of athletes at the event’s opening ceremonies at Credit Union Centre.

by Phil Ambroziak

They may not have won it all, but they had fun trying.

That’s all that really matters according to Terrance Sylvestre, Meadow Lake Tribal Council youth development program coordinator, who is pleased with Team MLTC’s fourth-place finish (out of 13 teams) at the 2012 Saskatchewan First Nation Winter Games. The Games, which took place in Saskatoon, were held April 8-13. Team MLTC finished with 176.3 points.

“Overall, I’m OK with the results, but I know we can do better, and I know we will do better at the next Winter Games,” Sylvestre said.

“I’m very happy with our athletes. They all enjoyed themselves and, aside from the competition, had an opportunity to meet with friends and to make new friends. One of the main focuses of the Games is to promote the notion we all live as one nation – it’s more than just competition, it’s a celebration of our First Nations culture.”

The Games, which operate under the auspices of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN), were hosted by the Battlefords Agency Tribal Council. Originally planned to take place in the Battlefords, the location was changed to Saskatoon because sporting facilities could not be guaranteed. More than 3,500 athletes from the province’s 74 reserves competed in volleyball, hockey, badminton, basketball, broomball and curling.

Team MLTC included 240 athletes ranging in age from 11-18. Counting chaperones, coaches, friends, family and staff, more than 600 area residents travelled to Saskatoon for the event. Team MLTC competed in every sport except curling.

“We were very strong in hockey, volleyball and broomball, but we struggled quite a bit in badminton,” Sylvestre noted.

Basketball was a demonstration sport this year, meaning no points were generated in that category toward the final results. Team MLTC did earn three gold medals (two in hockey – midget and pee wee), however, two silver medals (one in female hockey) and six bronze medals.

“We will continue to develop in badminton, as well as all other sports – we’re always looking for ways to improve,” Sylvestre said.

The Games alternate from year-to-year between winter and summer competition. This year, the top three teams were Agency Chiefs Tribal Council, Saskatoon Tribal Council and Team Woodland respectively.

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