Northern Bands Intermediate Volleyball Championship held at Rec. Centre
Andre Gomelyuk - Staff Writer
Five teams of Grades 6 to 8 students competed in the Northern Bands Intermediate Volleyball Championship on Oct. 13 at the Recreation Centre.
The five teams that attended the tournament were from Kingfisher Lake First Nation, Webequie First Nation, Mishkeegogamang First Nation, Lac Seul First Nation, and a team from Sioux Lookout.
Teams in the co-ed volleyball tournament each included three boys and three girls, with substitutions. The team from Kingfisher Lake First Nation was made up of six girls. Games were played to 25 points.
The tournament featured an entire day of matches, with each team playing against each other in a round robin format.
The second part of the day seeded each team by rank and switched to a single elimination style tournament to decide which teams would take gold, silver, and bronze.
Following round robin play, Sioux lookout and Webequie First Nation tied with seven points each, Kingfisher Lake First Nation earned five points, Mishkeegogamang First Nation got two points and Lac Seul First Nation earned one point.
The team from Sioux Lookout took home the gold medal against the silver medalist, Webequie First Nation. The bronze medal was awarded to Kingfisher Lake First Nation.
Event organizer Duane Ogemah shared that volleyball is a sport that is gaining popularity in the northern communities and he wanted to get the kids involved. Ogemah explained that earlier this summer, 28 teams from First Nations across northwestern Ontario played for a $25,000 top prize in a tournament hosted by Kingfisher Lake First Nation.
Teams in the Northern Bands Intermediate Volleyball Championship were accompanied by coaches, who expressed their thoughts on the tournament. Esther Sakakeep a chaperone with Kingfisher Lake First Nation said, “Our community is a volleyball town.” She continued, “They got into volleyball from the kids that came from Pelican (Falls First Nations High School).” Sakakeep shared, “They hardly slept, running around until 5 o’clock in the morning, just really excited.” Gideon Winters, Webequie First Nations coach, shared, “We need more of these to inspire the youth; it’s okay to leave home, to be without parents at periods at a time.”
Madison Bottle, Mishkeegogamang First Nation coach, shared, “Most of them don’t play sports, a lot of them just started practicing last week. It’s inspiring to see a group of kids come out to compete against others.”
Jason Suprovich, Sioux Lookout coach commented, “I think it’s good for the kids up north to come down and compete in the tournament… I think it’s good all-around, more fun than competitive, and just get a taste of volleyball, really trying to grow the game in town.”