Many of you are familiar with “The Wally’s” in Membertou. To let the rest of you in on the lingo, it is short for “Wallace Bernard Memorial Native Youth Hockey Tournament.” This tournament is the second longest running native youth hockey tournament in Canada and is hosted anually by Membertou.
The tournament includes eight divisions, from tots (age three) to old timers. Communities from across the Mi’kma’ki 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 all Mi’kmaq communities together from across Nova Scotia to share the love of the sport. Over the years, there have been many players from places 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.
It started off at the Whitney Pier Rink then moved to the County Arena, located in Coxheath. Up until March of 2017, the Wallace Bernard Memorial Native Youth Hockey Tournaments were not hosted in Membertou. This was because our community didn’t have an arena. Thanks to the opening of the Membertou Sport and Wellness Centre, the Wally’s were brought home.
The tournament is modernized by the grandson’s of the late Wally Bernard, Michael and JR Isadore, who 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 enjoyed baseball, hockey, volleyball, and bowling. He coached the Membertou Thunderbirds hockey and fastball team in the 70’s and 80’s. He was always involved in sports. 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 Destination Membertou will be there!
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