Gearing up for another exciting season of sports
- Errol Kayseas | October 31, 2023
The brisk, cold mornings is something that brings back memories of back to school for most kids, but in Canada it reminds us of hockey season.
This is something Saskatchewan residents enjoy throughout the winter to help keep our spirits high during dark mornings and short days.
The Big River First Nation gave us a taste of what’s to come this hockey season when it hosted an SJHL exhibition game between the Nipawin Hawks and the LaRonge Ice Wolves in the Jim Neilson arena.
The game was made extra special because it featured Big River’s own Deegan Wapass who plays for the Hawks facing off against childhood friend Sage Roberts a forward for the Ice Wolves.
It was a spirited affair with the two young Indigenous players each vying to crack a spot on the Junior A line up for their respective teams. To do so is a big accomplishment in the highly competitive league.
It was a tight game throughout the three periods until the last five minutes of the game.
The score was 6-4 for the Hawks, when Wapass sealed the win with his first goal.
He dished the puck to his linemate as they crossed the blue line, Wapass dashed to the net with his stick on the ice and scored!
It was what everyone was waiting for as the crowd burst into loud cheers.
The Ice wolves were shorthanded through a good majority of the game, so Roberts had limited opportunities to score.
However, when he was on the ice, he created chances with his slick passing skills and hard work on the boards showing he belongs in this elite league.
As the game ended, I bolted to go meet Wapass and Roberts in their dressing rooms.
I took immediate notice of their parents, all of whom beamed with pride. I can only imagine it must be the best feeling in the world watching your children excel in the sport they love.
The commitment and dedication to get to this level of hockey takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice by everyone.
I know watching my daughter play brings me sheer joy knowing she is doing what she loves and that is hockey!
I am happy to report Wapass and Roberts made their teams. I look forward to keeping up with them all winter.
Coincidentally both players are products of the Indigenous Sports Academy Eagles U17 Prep Hockey Program operated by Courage Bear in Saskatoon.
I will do a deeper dive in the ISA program later this winter so, stay tuned.
Another ISA Eagles alumnus who was at the game was Connor Watson of Mistawasis First Nation.
Although, he put in a valiant effort as he tried out for Nipawin, he’s still underage. Watson is returning to his perspective team in Prince Albert.
I am sure we will see him next year, bigger, stronger, and ready to play Junior A hockey.
Switching gears, let’s talk fastball.
The Treaty 4 fastball tournament took place in Fort Qu’Appelle a few weeks ago.
It was quite the battle for the Waywayseecappo A’s from Manitoba on Sunday with a 7-0 win over Okanese, a 1-0 win over Pasqua, followed by a 2-0 win over Little Black Bear, before finishing it off undefeated with a 6-4 win over Ochapowace.
Congratulations Waywayseecappo for making the long trek to play fastball and winning it all.
Pitcher Curtis Cote took home the MVP and Tony Sparvier of Ochapowace was named best pitcher.
The organizing committee did an amazing job completing the tournament on time and committing so much to the game we all love.