Stratford club helping Mattagami First Nation youth hit the ice

·1 min read

Mattagami First Nation youth will be ready to hit the ice when the community rink reopens thanks to a donation from the Stratford Rotary Club.

Last year, Mattagami First Nation opened the Odamino Centre that includes a rink and space for youth programming. While the rink was closed because of COVID-19 earlier this year the community still worked to get hockey equipment and skates for local youth.

Keewaytinook Internet High School (KiHS) resource teacher Melissa Black, who is from Stratford, reached out to the service club. The organization responded by donating three large hockey bags with pads and helmets, six sticks and a box full of skates of various sizes, said KiHS classroom teacher-mentor Ian Vaithilingam.

“I’m really thankful to the Rotary Club for organizing it. It’s going to go to good use, especially with this new arena. We’re all really excited,” Vaithilingam said.

The initial plan was to mail the gear but Steve Litchty of Polaris Educational Planners drove to Gogama last weekend to drop the donation off.

“That’s the epic story,” Vaithilingam said. “It’s a lot of effort to go through to get skates and hockey stuff but all that stuff is expensive, so now as soon as the rink opens again, our students will be able to get right out there.”

Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,