FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The long-awaited Treaty 8 BC Indigenous Hockey Camp is currently underway at the Pomeroy Sport Centre.

Marlene Roy, executive director of the Treaty 8 Tribal Association, says she started organizing the camp after a call from Jon Armbruster, with Marks Hauling out of Grande Praire, in 2019.

In partnership with the Tribal Association, Marks Hauling wanted to organize a free two-day hockey camp to bring the community together.

The skills camp was initially slated for March 2020 until being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The money raised through fundraising efforts was tucked away until the camp could be held. During the height of the pandemic, Roy says the association kept fundraising as much as possible to still be able to host the event in the future.

The goal of the camp, Roy says, is to bring kids aged 7 to 17 together for the love of hockey, “with a big focus on having fun and teamwork.”

Hockey camp participants taking part in shooting drills.

“The kids love hockey here, and it’s something I would like to see happen annually. Whether that’s going to happen, I don’t know,” said Roy.

The 85 kids who registered for the camp were split into four groups, led by local and guest hockey instructors, and will cycle through four different stations over Friday and Saturday.

Doig River First Nation Chief Trevor Makadahay, Halfway River First Nations Chief Darlene Hunter, and the mayors of Fort St. John, Chetwynd, and Dawson Creek, stopped by the camp Friday afternoon for the opening ceremony.

Through the support of over 50 sponsors, those who participated in the camp will be leaving with tons of goodies, including clothing with the camp logo, brand new hockey sticks, Vancouver Canucks hockey socks, and more.

Some of the items kids will be going home with from the Treaty 8 BC Indigenous Hockey Camp.

Tre Lopushinsky is the News Director at Energeticcity.ca, and a NAIT broadcasting graduate. His love for local journalism started in Lloydminster, where he realized the importance of covering issues/topics for smaller municipalities. He is also the co-host of Before The Peace, highlighting Indigenous voices in the North Peace. In his off time, Tre is yelling at his tv while watching pro wrestling, MMA, and basketball.