Community

Markham to host Indigenous hockey tournament

Markham will welcome more than 3,500 young Indigenous athletes, families and spectators from across the province after being selected to host the Little Native Hockey League (LNHL) 2024 Hockey Tournament, Cultural Festival and Gala Celebration.

The annual event will take place over March Break, with games being played at the City’s 10 ice rinks.

“The City of Markham put a tremendous amount of work into their bid, and it showed that they respect the Little NHL and what our tournament does for our people,” says LNHL Vice President Chico Ralf.

From left, Little Native Hockey League (LNHL) President Marian Jacko, Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti and LNHL Vice President Chico Ralf. Photo courtesy of the City of Markham.

“The Mayor of the City said they are collectively committed to building a strong relationship with Indigenous peoples and this opportunity is more than reconciliation because it is putting action to words. We were offered tobacco and welcomed with a Land Acknowledgment, and this is the first step in building respectful and reciprocal relationships.”

Markham celebrates Indigenous communities as well as sports, which transcends both language and culture and brings communities together, the City reports. Since January 2017, it has teamed up with the Eabametoong First Nation to help promote social, cultural and economic collaboration. It continues to work with Eabametoong to grow sport and fitness opportunities in the First Nation community.

“We are thrilled and honoured to be named as the host City for the 2024 LNHL Tournament as it prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary next year,” says Mayor Frank Scarpitti. “The City of Markham is committed to reconciliation and has a rich sporting history, particularly in the game of hockey. We are pleased to be able to welcome young Indigenous athletes and their families from across Ontario.”

The LNHL, Ontario’s largest Indigenous hockey tournament, helps to unite First Nations communities and is intended to make hockey more inclusive. Last year, a total of 487 games were played over four days in Mississauga, which hosted the event.

“Destination Markham is proud to announce our partnership with the City of Markham to host the celebrated 2024 LNHL Tournament,” says Destination Markham Corporation Chair Susan Mandryk. “We eagerly embrace the opportunity to create lasting memories for young, aspiring athletes. Beyond the excitement of hosting the tournament, Destination Markham is eager to showcase Markham, a remarkable destination in providing unmatched cultural, leisure, shopping and culinary experiences.”

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