For the second straight year, the Saskatchewan-based Mistawasis Sage Strong took top honors in the women’s category of a national Indigenous hockey tournament.
The Sage Strong squad downed Manitoba’s Cross Lake Islanders in the final of the Fred Sasakamoose Chief Thunderstick National Hockey Championship, which concluded on May 21 in Saskatoon.
This marked just the second year a women’s division had been contested at the tournament, which was first held in 2017.
The Islanders’ male counterparts, however, did win the men’s championship. The Cross Lake Islanders edged the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation’s Stars 3-2 in the men’s final. Peter Ballantyne Nation is in Saskatchewan.
This marked the first time the Islanders had won the men’s division at the national tourney, named in honour of Fred Sasakamoose, who was a trailblazing Indigenous player.
Sasakamoose, who died in 2020, was a member of Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. He had played 11 games for the Chicago Blackhawks during the 1953-54 National Hockey League season.
A total of 16 women’s squads and 40 men’s teams participated at this year’s Chief Thunderstick event.