MILLBROOK – The game of stick hockey dates back to centuries with First Nations people, including those from Millbrook.
The importance of the history of the game is part of the reason why Millbrook First Nation is on board to be the presenting sponsor of the World Jr. A Hockey Challenge when it comes to the Rath Eastlink Community Centre (RECC) in December.
Millbrook’s chief, Bob Gloade, said one of the important historical aspects to the Mi’kmaw people is the craftspeople and the work they’ve done with sticks.
“Our people have been playing the game of stick hockey for hundreds of years,” said Gloade. “When our craftsmen made wooden sticks and sold them, they were shipped to Montreal and shipped to professional players and used playing hockey at various levels. That’s an important piece of our history.”
From Dec. 10 to 16, world-class hockey players will be hitting the ice at the RECC. Teams playing in the 13-game tournament include Canada East, Canada West, Russia, Switzerland, the United States, and the Czech Republic.
Gloade said the event is one of world class, and is an opportunity for Millbrook, Town of Truro and County of Colchester to come together, to collaborate together, and to showcase their respective territories.
Dave Ritcey, committee chairperson, said past events have seen an economic impact of $2-$3 million to the host communities.
“It’s a great time of the year for hotels, it’s a great time for restaurants, and for retail in the community,” he said.
Gloade said this event is an “important component” of Millbrook investing in the community, and they also sponsor a lot of youth through minor hockey.
“We’ve had individuals from our community who have the ability to play at a higher league level,” he said, adding there are currently two who were drafted into the Quebec Major Junior league and others in previous years.
Ritcey said the players featured will be bringing some top class hockey to the area, and it’s been amazing to see the support from the community.
The province of Nova Scotia has committed $50,000 to the event through the Communities, Culture and Heritage department, and both Colchester County and Town of Truro are investing. Funding is also coming from the federal level through ACOA.
The support has also been strong from the volunteer perspective, with 150 already expressing interest and 125 attending a meeting in May. Ritcey said numerous people have already step into leadership roles, which the host committee is excited about.
When it comes to sponsors, Wilsons Fuel has come on board as Gold, with the Best Western Glengarry named host hotel. The Truro Jr. A Bearcats and Pye Chevrolet are Silver sponsors, with Medicine Shoppe sponsoring the gold medal game. Canadian Tire is also a game sponsor, and MacDonald, Chisholm, Trask is sponsoring the opening reception and dinner. There are still sponsorships at varying levels available, which can be obtained by contacting Don MacMillan at 902-899-0099 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the event, including tickets, visit https://www.ratheastlinkcommunitycentre.ca/wjac.
The World Junior A Challenge schedule:
- Dec. 10
Canada West vs Czech Republic, 3:30 p.m.
Russia vs Canada East, 7:30 p.m.
- Dec. 11
Czech Republic vs United States, 3:30 p.m.
Canada East vs Switzerland, 7:30 p.m.
- Dec. 12
Switzerland vs Russia, 3:30 p.m.
United States vs Canada West, 7:30 p.m.
- Dec. 13
Quarterfinals, 3:30 p.m.
Quarterfinals, 7:30 p.m.
- Dec. 14
Semifinals, 3:30 p.m.
Semifinals, 7:30 p.m.
- Dec. 15
5th place game, 3:30 p.m.
Bronze medal game, 7:30 p.m.
- Dec. 16
Gold medal game, 5 p.m.