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Louis Riel Cup in Saskatoon looks to build reconciliation through hockey

The first annual Louis Riel Hockey Tournament and Floorball Festival is running at Saskatoon’s Rod Hamm and Harold Latrace arenas this weekend.

The event runs Friday until Sunday, with several men’s and women’s teams, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, taking to the ice.

The competition is put on by Métis Nation Saskatchewan and focuses around reconciliation and bringing communities together.

“I know how important it is to bring people together, First Nations, Métis, Inuit and all Canadians with a sport that brings our whole country together in the name and value of reconciliation,” said Cassidy Caron, president of the Métis National Council.

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She spoke about the importance of hockey and the impact it can have on youth.

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“It has the ability to save lives.”

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She was happy to see that the women’s division in the tournament was elevated to the same level as the men’s, saying that’s not often the case when it comes to women’s hockey.

Caron said she was taking part in the tournament as well.

“The competition is strong, the competition is fierce. It’s wonder to be playing.”

Former NHLers Bryan Trottier and Rich Pilon spoke about the comradery that comes with hockey, and to see it at this event.

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“It’s really kind of fun to share the joy we’ve had with hockey and to see the joy everyone has at this competition,” Trottier said.

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He added that the Louis Riel Cup expresses inclusivity and the joy of sport.

Pilon said anytime you can get a rink with players coming out with family, fans and community members you bring people together.

“You’re all under one roof, you’re watching the game that we’ve all grown up watching,” Pilon said.

Métis Nation Saskatchewan president Glen McCallum said sports bring people together and that this event was about reconciliation.

He said there can be a lot of divisiveness around the country, but looked at this event as a way to start a conversation about what Canada is.

“It brings a lot of people together, the talent that you see out there, it’s beautiful to see,” McCallum said.

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