The Wallace Bernard Memorial Native Youth Hockey Tournament, or locally known as “The Wally’s”, is the second longest running native youth hockey tournament in Canada. The Wally’s take place every year here in Membertou at the Membertou Sport and Wellness Centre.
The tournament includes eight divisions, from tots (age three) to old timers. Communities from across the Mi’kma’ki (Cape Breton and Nova Scotia) are encouraged to participate each year. It’s an exciting time for everyone!
How It All Began…
The hockey tournament was established in 1974 by Wallace Bernard, Joe B. Marshall, Russell Marshall and a team of volunteers. It was created to bring together Mi’kmaq communities from across Nova Scotia to share the love of the sport. Over the years, there have been many players from areas such as Pictou Landing, Membertou, Eskasoni, New Brunswick and Sandy Bay, Manitoba.
The tournament was first known as the “Nova Scotia Invitational Indian Juvenile Hockey Tournament.” After the passing of Wallace in 1988, the name and logo had been revised to what we see today.
In it’s early years, the Wally’s were held at the Whitney Pier Rink and were later moved to the County Arena in Coxheath. Up until March of 2017, the Wallace Bernard Memorial Native Youth Hockey Tournament was not hosted in Membertou, because our community didn’t have an arena. Thanks to the opening of the Membertou Sport and Wellness Centre, the tournament was brought home!
The Wally’s continue to take place every year thanks to the hard work the late Wally Bernard’s grandsons. Michael and JR Isadore go above and beyond to make sure that it is a success every year.
Who is Wallace Bernard?
Wallace Bernard, also known as Wally, was born in 1933 and died in 1988 at the age of 55. He served the community of Membertou as a band councillor for many years. He was an athletic man who was always involved in sports. Wally enjoyed baseball, hockey, volleyball, and bowling. He was the coach of the Membertou Thunderbirds hockey and fastball teams in the 70’s and 80’s. In 1996, he was inducted into the Mi’kmaq Sports Hall of Fame for his contribution to sports, as an athlete and co-founder.
What To Expect In 2018
2018 marks the 45th anniversary for the Wallace Bernard Memorial Native Youth Hockey Tournament. Teams are registered, volunteers are prepared, and the community is pumped!
As a part of the celebration, there will be a youth dance held at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre in the Jenu Room on Friday, March 9th from 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. (Grades 6 and under) and 9:30 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. (Grade 7 and up)
The Wallace Bernard Memorial Native Youth Hockey Tournament starts on Thursday, March 8th and runs until Sunday, March 11th at the Membertou Sport and Wellness Centre. Mark this on your calendar, come and enjoy the games, show your support, and cheer loud! GO MEMBERTOU GO!
For more information, please visit www.wallacebernard.ca