Female squad nabs silver

By Phil Ambroziak

It was a close one for Saskatchewan’s female hockey team.
The ladies finished second overall at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships in Kahnawake, Quebec last week, losing 4-3 in the championship game to a team from Quebec.
“This is the third year in a row we’ve faced this same team in the final and every time the end result has been within one goal,” explained Mark Arcand, interim director of sports, culture, recreation and youth at the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN).
Two years ago, Team Saskatchewan downed their opponents in the final while this is the second year the female squad has earned silver.
“Our girls did exceptional,” Arcand continued. “They played their hearts out, but in the end there was nothing we could do to win. But, as far as I’m concerned, they’re still champions. They never quit playing hockey.”
Northwest players to compete for Saskatchewan’s female team included Delaney Ross and Taylor Durocher of Meadow Lake and Mallory Roy of Beauval.
Meanwhile, for the province’s male team – which included Canoe Lake Cree Nation member Colton Iron – the story wasn’t as much of a success. The male team, entered the tournament as five-time defending champions. This year, however, they would place fifth out of eight teams overall.
“Our team’s number one goalie went down with an injury and we couldn’t recover,” Arcand added. “We lost the quarterfinal game in overtime to the team from Manitoba.”
The loss put the team into the consolation bracket where they eventually earned their final ranking.
“I’m still very proud of the boys,” Arcand said. “That’s just the way sports are. We were blessed to have won five national titles, now we’ll be looking to rebuild.”
Arcand went on to say he is looking forward to returning to next year’s NAHC tournament with sights once again set on gold.
“We’ll be getting our teams together early, and I encourage more First Nations and Métis kids to come forward and try out,” he said. “We want to see as many kids as possible reach the next level, and this program is a great opportunity for them to do just that.”

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