The Scarborough Hockey Association’s (SHA) Under-11 Select Team will be visiting Whitefish River First Nation from February 3-5 in the second leg of the home-and-home exchange program.
The exchange program, which featured the first leg on November 4-5 in Toronto, strives to provide opportunities for GTHL and First Nations players, parents, and other participants to develop relationships, fellowship, and a cultural understanding through a shared passion for the game of hockey. For younger recreational-level players and players who have not previously played organized hockey, the exchange will look to provide introductory skill development opportunities (both on and off the ice) in order to encourage further participation in the game of hockey.
The second leg will introduce the SHA’s U11 Select Team to a new culture, learning about new experiences while trying different foods and activities. The 3NOLANS once again, with Ted, Brandon, and Jordan running skill development sessions both indoor and on an outdoor rink throughout the weekend. The SHA’s U11 Select Team and Whitefish River First Nation participants will also together participate in team building, language sessions, as well as a lunch outdoors with a bonfire, skating, ice fishing, tobogganing, snow shoeing, and more.
Additionally, the SHA’s U11 Select Team has been invited as guests to partake in a traditional Pow Wow social.
In November 2022, the first leg of the exchange featured youth from Whitefish River First Nation aged nine through to 13 years old of various skill levels visiting Toronto. The weekend included on-ice sessions, watching the Toronto Maple Leafs practice, a dressing room tour at Scotiabank Arena, visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame, and learning about nutrition. The teams also got to spend time with the 3Nolans – both on and off the ice.
After the visit to Toronto, Steve Whitaker, the Principal of Shawanosowe School, shared his excitement for the second leg in February when the SHA’s U11 Select Team make the trip to Whitefish River.
“This weekend was pretty special, but now it’s our turn to showcase what we have up here, both in terms of the land and the ability to get outdoors. Hopefully, we’ll play some outdoor hockey on the bay. And I’m not from here originally, but I have been coming here for 30 years or so, and my wife is from here, and her family and a lot of family and friends. There’s a real cultural wealth that people are excited to share with others and be able to welcome this group of kids from the city who probably most of them have never seen anything like it. It’s going to be exciting; it’s going to be enjoyable,” Whitaker shared.
The GTHL hopes this inaugural home-and-home exchange program is the first of many to come, continuing to unite First Nation, Indigenous, and Métis youth with GTHL players over a weekend of hockey activities in their communities.
To view the photos from the first leg of the exchange in November 2022, click here.
About Whitefish River First Nation
A community of approximately 1,200 citizens of the Anishinabek Nation located on the shores of Georgian Bay and the North Shore Channel, gatekeepers to Manitoulin Island, Ontario. The main village of Birch Island has approximately 440 members. Whitefish River First Nation is a progressive and active community that encourages, supports, and promotes local development, education, community wellness, and economic development as keys to their success.
About the Greater Toronto Hockey League
Founded in 1911, the GTHL is a non-profit organization and the largest minor hockey league in the world. The GTHL registers more than 40,000 annual participants in Markham, Mississauga, Toronto, and Vaughan. The purpose of the GTHL is to govern organized hockey for youth within its jurisdiction, and to foster participation that reflects the cultural demographic of the League’s territory while promoting an environment that is welcoming and inclusive for all participants.
- Steve Whitaker (Principal, Shawanosowe School, Whitefish River First Nation)
- Crystal McGregor (Health and Social Services, Whitefish River First Nation)
- Edward Paibomsai (Family Services Worker, Whitefish River First Nation)
- Josh Carpenter (Central Regional Coordinator, Indigenous Sports and Wellness Ontario)
- Scott Oakman (Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, GTHL)
- Stephanie Hyde (Hockey Development and Community Outreach Coordinator, GTHL)
- Brian Kyla-Lassila (Senior Manager, Membership Services; GTHL)
- Michael Purdy (Director, GTHL)
For more information, please contact:
Stephanie Coratti | Manager, Communications & Marketing