While the opening tournament of the first-ever all-Kahnawa’kehró:non AAA hockey team wasn’t the outcome the group hoped for, they nevertheless reaped the results of what was a bonding experience.
The team, consisting of 11 hockey players all born in 2010, competed under the Mohawk Shérifs Nation banner at the Challenge Rive-Sud AAA tournament on the weekend of August 6 to 8.
Throughout the two-day event, the Kahnawake youth lost all four games. Final scores began with 7-2, then 6-1, 4-1 and finally 4-0.
“We knew we were playing against teams that have been playing together for years and who each spring are on the same triple A team,” said Kahnawake’s team coach Jye McComber.
“So obviously they had that chemistry already and they also had played tournaments already this year.”
Despite not winning a game, McComber emphasized that the mighty Kahnawa’kehró:non put up a solid fight when faced with a harsh defeat in the initial game, and moved on to improve their score.
“In the round robin, they beat us 7-2 at first and then in the semi-finals it was only 4-0,” pointed out the coach. “In the end, it was a really good game because it was still 0-0 until halfway.”
Due to the constantly evolving regulations regarding team sports, McComber explained that he was tasked with putting together an all-local AAA team.
The relatively shallow pool of players in the age group made the mandate all the more difficult.
“Some of the players hadn’t played in a year – all the way since the pandemic started,” said McComber. “Half of the team hadn’t been skating at all and they also played single letter hockey, so they weren’t even AAA players.”
The lead coach was also able to watch his own son, Jaxton, compete throughout the weekend.
Once the dust settled, 11-year-old Jaxton said that despite the disappointing outcome, he remained focused on the positive, and was just happy to be playing with his friends.
“I had some really good games! It was all really fun,” he said.
The forward, who has been playing hockey for over five years, said that the sport continues to be his absolute favourite.
Bearing in mind all the barriers the new team faced, the coach was proud at the sight of the group of friends enjoying themselves throughout each step of the way.
“There’s nobody who gave up and everyone tried their hardest,” he said. “Even when at some point we were losing 5-0, everyone was having fun.”
Laurence Brisson Dubreuil, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door