Sports in Brief: Oil Kings hockey, women’s tackle football, wrestling gold, and hall of fame softball

Thursday, March 9th, 2023 11:02am


Image Caption

At left, Connor Church takes gold at a USports meet, and at right, Treycen Wuttunee called up to the Oil Kings from Triple A's Battleford Stars.
By Sam Laskaris

Wuttunee sticks with Oil Kings

As it turns out, Treycen Wuttunee’s hockey season did not finish in February.

Wuttunee, a member of Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, had excelled with the Battleford Stars’ Under 18 AAA squad this season.

The 16-year-old forward led the Stars in scoring racking up 44 points (20 goals and 24 assists) in 39 regular season outings.

The Stars, however, struggled this season, winning just 10 of their 44 matches in the Saskatchewan Male AAA Hockey League. The Battleford squad finished in the basement of its 12-team circuit and failed to qualify for the playoffs.

Wuttunee, however, has been able to continue his season, having been called by the Edmonton Oil Kings, members of the Western Hockey League (WHL).

The move was announced the day after Wuttunee’s season with the Stars finished.

Wuttunee had been drafted by the Oil Kings in the 10th round, 221st over-all, in the 2021 WHL Prospects Draft.

Before being told he would spend the remainder of the season with the Oil Kings, Wuttunee had already enjoyed some brief tastes of WHL life.

He started the 2022-23 campaign on the Edmonton roster but played just one match before being reassigned to the Stars.

Wuttunee also appeared in 10 other contests with the Oil Kings throughout the season as he was summoned to play with the squad for various brief stints.

Kevin Hart
Kevin Hart

National football championship to include Indigenous team

An Indigenous squad comprised of female football players from across the country will be among those vying for a national title this summer.

This marks the second year for the Women’s U18 Tackle National Championship. But it will be the first time the national Indigenous squad will take part.

This year’s event will be staged in Ottawa from July 23 to July 29.

Besides the Indigenous entry, also taking part will be seven provincial teams.

Ontario will be entering two squads in the event. Also participating will be entrants from Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Quebec and Saskatchewan.

“With the tournament taking place on unceded Anishinaabe Algonquin Territory and in the capital of Canada, Ottawa, it is fitting for Football Canada to take this major step towards Indigenous inclusion,” said Kevin Hart, a former regional chief for Manitoba at the Assembly of First Nations. Hart himself is an inductee in the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in the athlete category for football. He has been an advocate for national Indigenous teams in sport.

Hart believes national gridiron officials have taken a positive step forward by adding the Indigenous club to the tournament.

“By participating in this grassroots effort, Football Canada has acknowledged our unique history in this country and started the journey towards answering the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action,” he said. “We thank them for this opportunity.”

Connor Church

Métis wrestler captures gold medal at national university meet

Despite being a newcomer to the Canadian university ranks, Connor Church is now a national champion.

Church, who is Métis and a first-year student at Montreal’s Concordia University, captured the gold medal in the men’s 76-kilogram class at the recent USports national wrestling meet.

The tournament was staged in Edmonton and hosted by the University of Alberta.

Church won all four of his matches at the meet. He defeated Max Budgey, who was representing the Brock University Badgers from St. Catharines, Ont., 13-10, in the gold-medal match.

Church had been selected as the male recipient for the Tom Longboat Award this past fall. The awards (there’s also a female recipient) are annually awarded to the top Indigenous athletes in Canada by the Aboriginal Sport Circle, the national governing body for Indigenous sports.

First Nations team entering Manitoba hall of fame

The Sioux Valley Dakotas will soon become hall of famers.

The men’s softball club which represented Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, had its share of successes during the 1980s and ‘90s.

Those efforts are being rewarded as the Dakotas will enter the Manitoba Softball Hall of Fame via the Team category this spring.

Induction ceremonies are scheduled for May 6.

Those who played for the Dakotas from 1985 through to 1990 are the ones being recognized.

The First Nation had softball teams that participated in leagues and tournaments in the town of Virden and surrounding areas dating back to the 1960s.

Then, in the early ‘80s, the Dakotas joined the Brandon Commercial Fastball League. The squad won four championships in that league between 1985 to 1990.

The Dakotas also won a pair of provincial B championships and represented Manitoba at the North American Indian Athletic Association tournament four times.

The Sioux Valley squad also ended up winning a pair of Canadian Native Fastball Championships in the ‘90s.

The Dakotas are one of three teams that will be inducted into the hall of fame this year. Six individuals will also be inducted at May’s ceremony.

Never miss a Windspeaker article. Subscribe Today to our new Windspeaker Newsletter!