Slo-pitch tour­na­ment memo­rial held for Connor (Naaytawash) Pel­letier-Com­manda

The Mid-North Monitor - - News - LES­LIE KNIBBS

A slo-pitch tour­na­ment host­ing 16 male and fe­male teams took place in Ser­pent River First Na­tion (SRFN) over three days on the Labour Day week­end (end­ing Sun­day). The tour­na­ment was to hon­our Connor Pel­letier-Com­manda, a 17-year-old who was crit­i­cally in­jured in a car ac­ci­dent on July 30, 2016 near Span­ish. Connor, (Naaytawash) was well known along the North Shore for his prow­ess and skills in both hockey and base­ball.

The goal of the tour­na­ment was to raise enough funds to pro­vide two ath­letic schol­ar­ship bur­saries in Connor’s name for high school stu­dents at­tend­ing El­liot Lake Sec­ondary School, Es­panola High School and WC Eaket Sec­ondary School in Blind River.

In ad­di­tion to the bur­saries in Connor’s name, tour­na­ment or­ga­niz­ers are adding to the ath­letic award given to the ath­lete of the year at Our Lady of Lour­des School in El­liot Lake.

“We’re at­tach­ing $200 (to the award) to help them out and to hon­our Connor,” said Mi­randa, key or­ga­nizer and Connor’s mother.

Ac­cord­ing to Pel­letier, “teams came from all along the North Shore and some all the way from Al­berta to remember my son Connor, who was very pas­sion­ate about sports, in­clud­ing base­ball.”

The base­ball field in SRFN has been re­cently up­graded with bleach­ers, home and vis­i­tor benches, as well as a fin­ished ball di­a­mond. There is a memo­rial plaque hon­our­ing the young star player at the home team bench en­graved, “Be­cause some­one we love is in heaven, we have a lit­tle piece of heaven on the field.”

With Connor’s pass­ing last year, his in­flu­ence and in­spi­ra­tion is prov­ing to be like that hid­den stream un­der the ground mak­ing the land greener for those he in­spired for years to come.

Prizes were awarded at the tour­na­ment to the three top teams, as well as to the most valu­able play­ers (MVP) on each team. The MVPs were cho­sen by op­pos­ing teams pick­ing the win­ner on the other team. Also, an MVP award was given to the um­pire’s choice of best player on the cham­pi­onship team.

This tour­na­ment was the first to take place on the new field. Through­out the tour­na­ment, vol­un­teers sold hot food, snacks and drinks to as­sist with build­ing funds for the bur­sary. Sou­venirs in­clud­ing tee shirts and ban­danas were also sold.

The 16 teams play­ing in the tour­na­ment paid a $400 reg­is­tra­tion fee to par­tic­i­pate. Spon­sors for the event in­cluded Karen and Jeff from Sumac Tee Pees, Doc and Bruce from Scone and Wong, McDou­gal En­ergy, Rona Lum­ber in Massey and El­liot Lake, SRFN eco­nomic devel­op­ment of­fice, as well as oth­ers in­clud­ing AJ Bus Lines in Blind River.

Tour­na­ment or­ga­niz­ers put on a li­censed dance on Satur­day night at the SRFN band hall. AJ Bus Lines pro­vided free trans­porta­tion to and from the dance from El­liot Lake at 7 p.m. and re­turned party go­ers a ride back to El­liot at 2 a.m.

One of the teams par­tic­i­pat­ing was fam­ily mem­bers of the Com­manda Pel­letier fam­ily. All teams sported the logo ‘CPC 28’ on their jerseys com­mem­o­rat­ing Connor Pel­letier Com­manda, who wore num­ber 28 while play­ing base­ball in the area.

Mi­randa summed it all up say­ing, “I can’t thank all of the vol­un­teers from our com­mu­nity and sur­round­ing area enough. We just want ev­ery­body to have fun and en­joy the tour­na­ment.”

Or­ga­niz­ers are plan­ning on mak­ing this tour­na­ment an annual event.

PHOTO BY LES­LIE KNIBBS/FOR THE MID-NORTH MON­I­TOR

Pel­letier-Com­manda team mak­ing a hit at home plate.

PHOTO BY LES­LIE KNIBBS/FOR THE MID-NORTH MON­I­TOR

Pel­letier-Com­manda slo-pitch team pos­ing at home plate.

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