Hockey Star Makes Impression in Pinehouse

In addition to with meeting the NHL legend, Bryan Trottier, the Pinehouse edition of Cameco's Hockey Day in Saskatchewan included skills development for local coaches, referees and minor hockey players.

NHL legend Bryan Trottier and Pinehouse made quite an impression on each other.

When Trottier, who has Cree/Metis heritage, visited the northern community Jan. 22 as part of Cameco Hockey Day in Saskatchewan, residents decorated him with a traditional Metis sash. For the next several hours, he entertained eager fans, both young and old, with autographs, stories and encouragement.

“This was a celebration of such a wonderful sport and our gift to the world, so to speak,” said Trottier, a seven-time Stanley Cup champion. “I love it and it’s really enjoyable to be celebrated, tell them some stories and hopefully inspire the next generation of athlete or hockey player or the kid that has a dream and wants to excel.”

The annual event, which is a partnership between Cameco and the Saskatchewan Hockey Association (SHA), visits a different community each year with the goal of raising funds for local arenas and growing the game.

The 2017 event featured two host communities for the first time. Shellbrook organized a week-long celebration that raised a record $175,000 for arena upgrades, while Pinehouse received some much-appreciated development programs for aspiring players, coaches and referees.

“It’s that Saskatchewan community spirit of giving back,” said Cameco CEO Tim Gitzel. “You mix that with the Cameco volunteerism and our goal of making a difference in the communities in which we live and work, and together it’s a potent mix. We’ve had a wonderful weekend.”

While resource industries faces challenges, Gitzel said Cameco will continue to support initiatives such as Hockey Day in Saskatchewan because they inspire Cameco volunteers to get involved and work with local people to accomplish goals.

“We’re not just going to write a cheque and mail it in,” he said. “We’re going to roll up our sleeves.”

The rewards for Pinehouse came in the form of training and development for local coaches, referees and minor hockey players. The SHA delivered certification programs and skills clinics – a rare opportunity for the northern community located 500 kilometres north of Saskatoon. Residents then enjoyed a pair of midget AAA games with girls teams from Prince Albert and Swift Current, and boys teams from Beardy’s and Battlefords.

“The certification is very important because we need to get more volunteers out there for our kids,” said Pinehouse Mayor Mike Natomagan. “And to see this kind of hockey is something else.”

The community also received its first skate sharpener as a legacy of the event. Until now, many youngsters had been making do with dull blades.

“We want to leave an impression in these communities,” concluded Gitzel. “We want to make a difference and we are. I’m really proud of our volunteer spirit and our volunteer team.”

Cameco Hockey Day in Saskatchewan is a partnership between the Saskatchewan Hockey Association, Cameco and the host communities.