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Maple Leaf Alumni Puck Drop in Indigenous communities Symbolizes the Future of Indigenous Sport Tourism in Ontario

Press Release

LITTLE CURRENT, ON,  – Toronto Maple Leaf legends will hit the ice this October in two star-studded alumni games supported by Indigenous Tourism Ontario hosted by Wikwemikong Tourism and Taykwa Tagamou Nation.

To begin the weekend’s historical festivities, join Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO) as the Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni Association faces off in a historic alumni game in Wikwemikong First Nation at the Thunderdome Arena. This monumental game will take place on October 29th, 2022 at 7 pm, hosted by Wikwemikong Tourism; a local nature based cultural tourism organization that showcases an array of authentic Indigenous experiences on Manitoulin Island. With the Toronto Maple Leaf Alumni facing off against local players, this is sure to be a historic relationship building match that embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion through sport.

“Hockey has a long, proud history in Wikwemikong, in Mnidoo Mnis and across our Communities in this Land. Hockey has contributed to individual growth as well as overall community growth.

Our people have learned and succeeded in so many ways as a result of hockey. The process of discipline and aspiring to achieve the best continues to help ground our children, youth and families in their daily lives by providing the avenue for overall pride, confidence and teamwork. Hockey can empower. Empowered youth empowers communities which empowers our Indigenous nations as a whole” said Ogimaa Manitowabi of Wikwemikong Unceded Territory.

Bringing this exciting tour to the northeastern side of the province, the Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni Association will then be on the road to Taykwa Tagamou Nation as they host the second alumni game at the Tim Horton Events Centre in Cochrane on October 30th at 5 pm. Taykwa Tagamou Nation is Mushkegowuk Cree community whose Traditional Territory and Treaty Lands are in the southern portion of the James Bay watershed in northeastern Ontario, within the area of Treaty 9.

“Taykwa Tagamou Nation is thrilled to host this exciting Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni Game within our Traditional Territory”, said Chief Bruce Archibald. “We’re not only excited to demonstrate how much Leafs Nation pride our community has, but also, how much potential our youth have when they engage in sport, community leadership, and academics, the world is theirs. And we’re bringing this world right to their doorstep for a first-hand view” he concluded.

ITO is honoured to support such momentous games with Wikwemikong Tourism and Taykwa Tagamou Nation, symbolising the future of Indigenous sport tourism in Ontario with these significant puck drops. According to a 2019 report from the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance and Sport Tourism Canada, sport tourism was labelled the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry in Canada, totalling $7.4 billion in annual spending by domestic and international visitors.

“The expression of Indigenous identity through sports is an integral part of our culture, from the Little Native Hockey League to the local events playing lacrosse, baseball, and golf, one could not reflect on Indigenous culture without highlighting the importance of sports for the communities,” added Kevin Eshkawkogan, CEO of Indigenous Tourism Ontario.

ITO is eager to contribute to the sport tourism industry in Ontario with an Indigenous lens while identifying the need for an Indigenous sport tourism strategy in the near future. These puck drops are the beginning of ITO’s long future showcasing Indigenous sport tourism in the province while sharing an important part of all Indigenous cultures with the rest of the world.

Hockey lovers are welcomed to attend the complimentary games by registering for tickets through:

For the Wikwemikong First Nation Game: General Admission Registration Link
For the Taykwa Tagamou Nation Game: General Admission Ticket Registration

The Wikwemikong First Nation game will begin at 7pm and will be hosted at the Wikwemikong Thunderdome at 2338 Wikwemikong Way, Wikwemikong, ON P0P 2J0 on October 29, 2022.

The Taykwa Tagamou Nation game will begin at 5pm and will be hosted at the Tim Horton Arena: 7 Tim Horton Drive Cochrane, ON P0L 1C0 on October 30, 2022.

ABOUT ITO

Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO) is a provincial non-profit and membership association which focuses on creating aligning and forming partnerships between businesses, associations, organizations, government departments, and industry leaders from across Ontario and Canada to support the growth of Indigenous tourism in Ontario and Canada while addressing the demand for development and marketing of authentic Indigenous experiences. ITO has an established membership process that enables Indigenous tourism industry partners to engage with and show support for Indigenous tourism. For more information, visit www.IndigenousTourismOntario.ca

About Taykwa Tagamou Nation

Taykwa Tagamou Nation (TTN) is a Mushkegowuk Cree community whose Traditional Territory and Treaty Lands are in the southern portion of the James Bay watershed in northeastern Ontario, within the area of Treaty 9. Taykwa Tagamou Nation has practiced traditional land-use and sustainability within its territory through hunting, fishing, trapping, and gathering, and have traded with neighbouring Nations since time immemorial. TTN is a Nation of 700 members with 140 living in the community.

About Wikwemikong Tourism

Wikwemikong Tourism is a department of the Wikwemikong Development Commission, the economic development branch of the Wikwemikong Unceded Territory.

About Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni

The Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni Association is the largest and most active in the National Hockey League. Their mission is to bring the Alumni to the communities that have made the players feel so special. Each season the TMLA will stage numerous games throughout these communities, giving Leafs Nation an opportunity to see the past players in action, while recapturing some of those memories from years gone by. It is their hope that the boys in blue will be skating in the local arena this season.

For further information: ITO Media Contact: Brian Still, [email protected]; TTN Media Contact: Jazz Clement, [email protected]

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