Saskatoon will play host to the Fred Sasakamoose “Chief Thunderstick” National Hockey Championship this weekend.
Thirty-two teams from all over Canada are expected to be in town competing for the top prize.
“As far as Rankin Inlet to the James Bay Cree First Nations from Quebec, to Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia,” said Neil Sasakamoose, who is an organizer with the event.
“We’ve been able to assemble a nice big board of teams that never see each other and never play against each other. It’s a contact tournament, so it’s really competitive.”
Officials say numerous well-known Indigenous hockey players will be taking part in the action.
“(Brigette) Lacquette, the team Canada women’s hockey defenceman, she’s coming to play, she’s going to play with her First Nation, which is Cote,” said Neil Sasakamoose, who is an organizer with the event.
“Then we have Brady Keeper, we’re hoping Brady Keeper from the Cross Lake Islanders is going to attend and he just finished with the Florida Panthers in the NHL.”
Sasakamoose also noted that Dwight King and D.J. King are on the Canoe Lake roster. Dwight played 365 games in the NHL, while D.J. played 118 NHL contests.
The event is guaranteeing $45,000 in total prize money. The winning team will take home $25,000, second earns $10,000, while the third and fourth place teams will get $5,000 each.
The tournament begins on Friday. The first two days of the event will take place at the Jemini Arenas.
The championship final is slated for 7:30 p.m. on Sunday at the SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon.
(PHOTO: Fred Sasakamoose. Photo courtesy of sasksportshalloffame.com)