The National Aboriginal Hockey Championships (NAHC) have just concluded here in Membertou at the Membertou Sport and Wellness Centre. The 20-team, male and female tournament took place from May 6th-12th , 2018 with Manitoba winning gold for the female division, and British Columbia placing first for the male division. NAHC 2018 was action packed, and we are now sitting back and reminiscing about the highlights of the week.
The opening ceremonies officially kicked off this exciting week of hockey here in Membertou. The opening ceremonies took place at the Membertou Sport and Wellness Centre, and began with Membertou’s Chief, Terry Paul, dropping the puck to open the 2018 National Aboriginal Hockey Championships.
After the puck drop, Membertou Elder, Lawrence Wells, gifted us with an opening prayer.
Youth Chief, Montana Marshall, welcomed the teams and asked everyone to give a moment of silence in respect for the Humboldt Broncos, the Junior A team from Saskatchewan that was involved in a tragic bus accident back in April.
Next, Jada Paul, of Membertou, sang Canada’s National Anthem in Mi’kmaq.
The Opening Ceremonies concluded with a video that showcases the Mi’kmaq people’s history and connection to the sport of hockey. Hockey is in our blood, and the video demonstrated the importance of the sport to our people.
What brought everyone together for the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships? Hockey fans from across the country gathered to watch the teams battle for the title of “Aboriginal Champion”. The week showcased the abilities of the best bantam and midget-aged Indigenous players from across Canada. Fans were impressed with both the level of skill, and the heart of the players.
During their downtime, the teams had the option to take part in a Dream Catcher Workshop that was offered at the Membertou Heritage Park. Team North decided to take part.
Membertou Elder, Catherine, lead the girls through an afternoon of crafting that took place inside the Elder’s Room. The players each created something beautiful and unique to take home with them.
The volunteers were instrumental throughout this tournament. Their hard work and dedication provided players and fans with an experience to remember. The volunteers welcomed visitors and spent countless hours at the Membertou Sport and Wellness Centre.
What is a national tournament without swag? The official merchandise for the tournament sold like “hot cakes”. While the baseball hats and t-shirts were popular, the hoodies were the biggest seller. The event organizers had to place two additional orders for more hoodies. We had feedback that the players and parents were seen sporting the merchandise all over Cape Breton Island. It made us happy to know that Membertou was represented in style! If you happened to purchase a hoodie, we want you to wear it fondly as you remember your time spent in Membertou.
Let’s face it, not everyone is able to travel across the country to watch their friend or family member play hockey. The live streaming on the NAHC website was an opportunity for the fans at home to be able to tune into the action. Shout out to Darcy Campbell and his team at Nova Stream for doing such an awesome job covering each game.
Custom Commemorative Membertou Hockey Sticks
Fans and players had the option of purchasing a custom commemorative hockey stick to remember their time spent at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships.
Boreas Hockey, a company located in Quebec, created the custom hockey sticks that could people ordered throughout the week. The sticks had the tournament logo and the double curve motif petroglyph, which is also on the Regalia of Chief Terry Paul.
Membertou held a social to celebrate the hard work of the players and to promote bonding and relationship building amongst the players. We hope everyone had a great time tearing up the dance floor!
We hope everyone had as much fun as we did during #NAHC2018!