Sheshatshiu makes bid for Kraft Hockeyville
Kraft Hockeyville is back and Sheshatshiu wants the special destinction.
Shannon Tobin, special liaison to Chief Eugene Hart at the Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation Band Council Office, said the idea was considered for years but no one really picked up on it. He said a focus on hockey has been growing in Sheshatshiu and following a fantastic showing at this year’s Lake Melville Mega-Tournament, the community had a banquet announcing they would submit for Hockeyville this year.
Tobin said once they started working on the submission they noticed many of the things they do with hockey tend to also engage with the history and the development of the Innu.
“One of the things mentioned in the application is that we named our arena after Joseph Riche who was a chief who tragically died in an accident. Our marquee tournament, the Penote Ben Michel Tournament, is named after one of the prominent leaders for the Innu people. So we can recognize the history of the Innu and also recognize the youth coming up and giving them a piece of the history of the community while they are also learning their future sport.”
Now that submissions are closed, the communities will be whittled down to 10, five from Eastern Canada and five from the West. Voting from the public will then be open, and the top from east and west will face off , and both will get $100,000. The winner will also get an NHL exhibition game, which Tobin said is something they ‘really, really want.’
If selected, they have two arena projects that would most benefit from the prize money. The majority of the funds would be invested in upgrading the seating area in the arena to accommodate the growing interest in hockey. The second project would be acquiring technology to make the arena state of the art.
“We would like to focus on developing our hockey players into the best in the world. We would like to install equipment that would record analytics and video review. We feel that this would help all ages learn the game and help them set achievable goals to better themselves,” the community’s submission stated. “As well a benefit of this project would be the social aspect that we could broadcast games live so those who could not be in there at the arena could watch the games from anywhere they may be or players could share their big goal or their great save with family and friends and relive those moments at home.”
While hockey is not a sport that has traditionally been associated with the Innu, it has always been big in Sheshatshiu.
“Even myself growing up in Happy Valley-Goose Bay we always had four or five players on our minor hockey team come up from Sheshatshiu and play in our divisions,” Tobin said. “When we actually had senior hockey running in Goose Bay there was a team from here and it was always a game to watch. They always brought the passion to the game.”
That was prior to the arena in Sheshatshiu and now Tobin said minor hockey has been growing exponentially every year. They also have their own senior hockey games in the evenings as well.
“The interesting thing is there will be games down here for people to play rec league at 8 o’clock and they all still drive up and play another game at 10 o’clock in Happy Valley-Goose Bay,” Tobin said. “Hockey is something that’s really been picked up in the community; ball hockey and ice hockey are the two biggest sports here. It’s very much a year-round sport here.”
To view Sheshatshiu’s submission visit http://www.khv2017. ca/en/nominations/profile/ joseph-riche-1/. They can also be found on Facebook at https:// www.facebook.com/sheshatshiuHockeyville/.
The top 10 will be announced on March 4 and the first voting period will be March 12 and 13. The top two will be announced on March 18, with voting taking place over the following two days.