The North American First Nations Tournament of Champions is a men’s recreational hockey tournament open to any First Nation hockey team across the United States and Canada. The tournament has been going for 21-years, but reaching their 22nd year proved to be quite dramatic.
The Kenora Daily Miner & News has been covering how this year, the tournament found itself without a home. Volunteers organized to save the tournament and a deal was eventually struck with Wauzushk Onigum (Rat Portage) First Nation, who announced it would host the event. Kenora, which was originally named “Rat Portage,” is a small city on the Lake of the Woods in Northwestern Ontario, Canada.
“The incentive for the teams to keep coming back is the guaranteed prize money,” Jason Stevens, who was signed on with Matt Skead to coordinate the settling of the tournament location, told the Miner & News. “$20,000 is a big draw for our community.”
A $3,500 downpayment was required to hold 96 hours of ice time between the Kenora Recration Centre and the Keewatin Memorial Arena between April 7-10.