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MISHKEEGOGAMANG NOVICE HOCKEY CLUB

$370 of $12,000 goal

Raised by 6 people in 1 month
Created December 15, 2018
True North Aboriginal Partnership
on behalf of Paul Burston
On behalf of the Mishkeegogamang Novice Hockey Team, I am writing to request for a monetary donation from your company to support this teams travel, accommodations and entry fee for the Lil Bands Hockey Tournament that takes place in Dryden ON, during the week of February 4 to February 10, 2019. 

The novice hockey team consists of kids who age between 5 and 7 years old.  We currently have 15 kids who will travel from Mishkeegogamang to Dryden for the one-week long tournament.  We also have band members who will be travelling from different communities to join the team for some good hockey action. 

Our financial goal is $12,000 plus to make this a successful event for the children of Mishkeegogamang to participate in the first sport geared towards first nation children in Northwestern Ontario.  We are currently fundraising but will require more financial assistance to achieve our goal.

The story of how Mishkeegogamang Knights were born.

It all began when I took my 5-year-old son to watch the hockey games at Northern Bands Youth Hockey Tournament in Sioux Lookout on February of 2017.  I was a chaperone for my nephews and my oldest son who was in the bantam’s team at the time.  I invited my family to come out and watch the games one day, as I found it very exciting to watch the kids compete against other first nation communities.  My baby son had been playing hockey inside the house ever since he was 3 years old because our family watches the NHL games on TV.  He started out in the living room with his wrist shots and setting up his toys as nets or literally begging older siblings or his dad to play goalie with him.  One day he shattered the inside layer of our living room window and was sad after apologizing but that didn’t keep him from playing, after a couple of months he was back in action.  He fell in love with the hockey game when he watched his cousins and other kids from the community at that tournament.  He repeatedly asked if he can try ice hockey and we told him he had to wait until he is 8 years old to join. 

I was on a one-year leave of absence from work for medical reasons when I decided that I will make time to do some research on how many kids we have living on reserve that might be interested in playing ice hockey.  One July afternoon, I went to visit the staff at the Early Years Program and asked if they would help me figure out how many kids were between the ages of 5 to 7.  We came up with a list of 36 boys and girls.  From the list of 36 kids we downsized to a list of 18 kids that we would ask to join the team.  I left it at that after the brainstorming session, later I came up with a budget for travel expenses, transportation, entry fee, hockey equipment and jerseys to gear up these little guys who would attend a hockey tournament for the very first time.  Months go by as I would spend time looking at the names on the list and planning fundraisers that might help meet the financial goal I had set out.  I talked with my partner and we went over the plans and the possibility of managing a kid’s hockey team.  We were confident and decided that we wanted to do this for the children who love hockey.  I drafted up a letter, talked with a few parents and when we had enough interest (which was one line of hockey players) I posted the final draft of the community announcement on November 5, 2017.  The letter was posted on Facebook so that the community members are aware of the new hockey team and fundraising that would now start and run till February 2018. 

The work begins, fundraising is on the go and we are ever so lucky to find people who were more than happy to assist us and put in so much effort to make this a success.  I was always confident that our fundraisers would become successful because our positive attitude towards the birth of these hockey stars as their dreams become so much bigger.  Our friends from the south would come to the rescue and bring us hockey equipment so that we were able to gear up a team of little guys who filled the roster of 17 players.  We would encourage the parents to bring their kids to Pickle Lake Arena to skate, 32 kms from 63B reserve and another 20 plus kms from 63A reserve.  Not everyone was able to go to public skating due to work and a lack of transportation.  Personal finances become a struggle with the price of gas to drive back and forth to Pickle Lake 3 times a week.  One family in 63A reserve decided they would make an outdoor hockey rink outside their home so that their son practices with neighborhood kids which helped them as they learn the game of hockey.

The tournament date arrives and the team is excited.  The parents take 2 or 3 kids in their personal vehicles and one van that carried some novice and other minor hockey players.  The first day as we drive into Dryden and pull up at the arena, I will never forget the words from my little guy “WOW! You mean we are going to play a real hockey game?”  The excitement and the positive energy that came from these little guys was amazing.  I told the chaperones and drivers that we are here for them.  Those little people look up to us, refrain from all the negative energy and stay positive with them.  Kids know everything, they know how we feel and understand how we speak. 

First game was held at the Eagle Lake First Nation Arena, the kids geared up and made way to the ice for the very first time as Mishkeegogamang Knights.   Some knew how to skate, some couldn’t stay on their feet/skates but to see them on the ice was awesome.  We are here, we have come this far.  The team played on a daily basis and they learn to work as a team and make plans to win as a team.  They were so motivated and encouraged by their imports and were really happy to see how they know their game.  Days go by, we watched other Mish Teams play in other divisions and meeting new friends. The hockey atmosphere was in the air and they were loving every minute of it.

Mishkeegogamang Knights had 1 win and 2 losses which place them 3rd out of 6 teams.  The team made it to the A-side semi-final and lost to Lac Seul and landed in B-side final.  The team played the B-side Championship game and lost to Round Lake 7-5.  Regardless of the loss, this team players were in good spirits, very excited and happy with the hockey game.  One of the goals was scored by my son.  I held the Mish Flag proudly, pounding on the glass as I screamed and cried from the benches as a fan, he would skate all the way back to where I stood and raised his arms.  What a glorious feeling.  The families and the fans who drive in from home are all behind me and everyone is full of smiles and in good spirits. 

Mishkeegogamang Knights will enter the upcoming Li’l Bands Youth Hockey Tournament once again on February 4 to February 11, 2019.  We have set our financial goal that we will focus on from now till then.  I would like to say Thank You to all of our supporters who are in the community and all around.  We want to thank you in advance in for all the help in making this a successful hockey team for our future stars.
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$370 of $12,000 goal

Raised by 6 people in 1 month
Created December 15, 2018
True North Aboriginal Partnership
on behalf of Paul Burston
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$20
Shari Goss
28 days ago
$100
Kathleen Kelly
28 days ago
KW
$100
Karen Ward
29 days ago
MB
$50
Michaela Bottle
1 month ago
PB
$50
Paul Burston
1 month ago
JJ
$50
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1 month ago
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