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The National Aboriginal Hockey Championships were held from April 27th to May 3rd on the Akwasasne Mohawk Territory in Ontario. The Championships are for elite midget aged players, which provides for an excellent fast and fierce competition. The championships are in their second year of existence. This years tournament there were eight teams representing seven provinces competing for the bragging rights for the best of the best Aboriginal hockey team nationally.
The players that represented the men's team were: Travis Gardipy, Austin Keshane, Tyler Crookedneck, Chad Stanley, Garry Sauvie, Bradon Eagle, Chad Peekeekoot, Darwin Goodwill, Alvin Kahnapace, Allan Longjohn, Derek Straightnose, Chris Gamble, Kyle Mirasty, Jeff Ratt, Brayden Jones, Craig Morningchild, Jonas Thomson, Dale Mitsuing, Justin Magnuson, Nicholas Lewis, Barry Sparvier, Alvin Musqua Jr., Myles Thomas, and Craig Straightnose. Coaches were Charles Keshane and Barry Sparvier Sr.
The men's team from Saskatchewan came out on top, going undefeated throughout the tournament, and claiming the gold in an unusual fashion. In the gold medal game the men's team was down 2-1 with less then ten seconds left, and for many common sense would suggest the game was over. However, this was not the case. Here's the situation, a Manitoba player misreading the clock picks up the puck and skates it to his goalie with 2.2 seconds left in the game. One of the rules governing midget hockey states that this would be considered a delay of game and the result of delaying the game is a penalty shot. Saskatchewan's Travis Gardipy took the penalty shot, and scores sending the game into overtime, where Justin Magnuson finishes off the game in dramatic fashion, scoring with only four minutes remaining in overtime.
The women's team fared well at the tournament as well. They played hard and represented Saskatchewan proudly. Demonstrating that at the next tournament they will be a team to watch for. Women who played on the team were: Tiffany Starchief, Courteny Chicoose, Kara Pooyak, Rena Peekeekoot, Harmonie King, Michelle Delorme, Shanna Rae Bear, Darcie King, Arlene Dawn Bird, Ruby Norman, Charmane Naytowhow, Samantha D'Jonaire, Tiffany Oakes, Delissa Flett, Laura Fineblanket, Rachelle Moore, Dayna King, Falon Head, Shaylynn Pewapisconias, Rheanna Worme, Wylee Dillon, Janis Apesis, Stacey Chief, Angie Benz. Coaches were Earl Cameron and Chief Gilbert Ledoux.
The tournament will be held in Prince George, BC, next year and the men's team is looking forward to defending their championship, and the women's team is looking forward to the challenge of returning home with a medal. The tournament is a stepping stone to newly formed Aboriginal High Performance Hockey Program, which Travis Gardipy, Justin Magnuson and Barry Sparvier from the men's team will now be attending.