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Community partnerships strengthen the possibilities for youth to pursue education

Jan 23, 2019 | Canadore Panther Athletics

By Gerard Peltier

On January 11, 2019, three members of the Canadore College Panthers hockey club, captain Ryan Zentai,  Owen Bender and Evan Peltier accompanied recruitment and retention officer/hockey coach Gerard Peltier to Wikwemikong First Nation.

The goal of the trip was for the hockey team to share some insights with grade 7-12 students on what it’s like to go to college and what transitioning for a young student coming from a small town would look like.

Players shared their stories and provided insight on what it’s like to go to a larger community centre for education. They further added that each and every individual has a skill and talent, and if that skill happens to be athletics, that gift can help you get ahead.

Bender, E. Peltier and Zentai stressed the importance of staying active, getting involved and accessing the services that are available at college, and how important it is to keep family involved.

“Clubs and student associations play a key role in making the college experience a good one,” said Zentai.

“If you take your skills and work with you, you can do anything you want,” said E. Peltier who just happens to be a member of Wikwemikong who can personally relate given that he moved away from the community with his family 11 years ago to pursue sports and education opportunities.

The next day, the rest of the Canadore squad arrived mid-day to participate in a local ball hockey event with the youth.

A great event proved to be a memorable experience for all of the participants. Before game time, players from the Canadore team hit the ice early to help with an impromptu hockey skills camp for the local bantam and midget players -- a real treat for the local players and the parents.

The evening highlight was the scheduled exhibition hockey game, which had the Panthers compete against the local and Island favourite, Wikwemikong T-Birds. An exciting game that ended in a draw at regulation. In the sudden victory shoot out the local team found the win. The game highlighted speed and skill. An entertaining event for the locals for sure, and a great learning experience for the Panther club.

This is the second time that the Panthers hockey club has visited the community of Wikwemikong. Each time has been welcoming and learning experience for the college players.

 “Thank you for taking us in, it was nice to be treated with generosity and to be made to feel welcomed,” said Bender.

The community and host team also shared their thanks, by saying that they are grateful for the skill and hockey excitement that the Canadore College players bring to their hockey town.

Players from the Canadore Panthers wish to send out many thanks to the event sponsor, Naandwechige Gamig Wikwemikong Health Centre for sponsoring the game and feast. To the Wikwemikong Youth Centre, Jesse Peltier, for proving the kids ball hockey game, hosting the community feast and providing a place for the players to chill before the game. Of course, a huge thank you to the sport and wellness department for the support towards the hockey club and making events like this possible.

#Access and Inclusion #Admissions #Athletics, Rec, Wellness #Collaboration #Events #Experiential Learning #First Peoples' Centre #General #Indigenous #Recruitment #Sport and Rec #Sport and Wellness #Student Life #Student Success Services