A popular Indigenous hockey tournament has been postponed.

The Fred Sasakamoose “Chief Thunderstick” National Hockey Championship was slated for April 24-26 in Saskatoon, but the event has been suspended until further notice due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Last week when we sat down, it was really disheartening,” said Neil Sasakamoose, who is one of the organizers of the event. “There’s only a handful of us that put on this event and we were crushed when we sat around the table. At the same time, taking into account it’s a week later and what’s developed in the last six to seven days since we postponed or suspended the tournament, we’re happy we did now.”

Sasakamoose also says there is a possibility the event could still take place, but he says they will have to assess the situation.

“On April 15th, we are going to determine if we are going to have an event on April 24th, 25, 26,” said Neil Sasakamoose. “We haven’t ruled it out yet, but it’s all going to be dependent on how the controls are, how the compliance of people are, the people that are travelling out of province still.”

The tournament was scheduled to take place at Merlis Belsher Place in Saskatoon. Last year’s finale shook down at the SaskTel Centre, which is the home of the Saskatoon Blades and the Saskatchewan Rush.

The Waswanipi Chiefs captured first in 2019 when they beat the Cross Lake Islanders in overtime.

(PHOTO: The Waswanipi Chiefs celebrate after winning the championship in 2019. Photo by Braden Malsbury.)