The Anaham Arrows Sports Club of the Cariboo-Chilcotin is hosting its 20th Annual local native hockey tournament from March 26-27 at Lac La Hache’s Rolf Zeis Arena.
Tournament organizers said over the past 19 years the tournament had been hosted in Williams Lake; however, due to financial issues, hosting the annual event in Lac La Hache was more feasible.
The tournament, known as the Douglas Hance Memorial Cup, will also celebrate the retiring of the annual trophy at this year’s event.
“The Arrows are current cup champions and our club is retiring the Douglas Hance Memorial Cup this year, so it will no longer be awarded,” said tournament organizer Gerald Johnny.
The tournament, in the past, has featured eight to 14 teams vying for the cup — and Johnny expects this year to be filled with fun, action-packed hockey.
“We’ve been hosting the tournament to develop the players’ skills and talent,” Johnny said.
“We do it for the players. We see it every year, players get better and better.
“It builds confidence [for the youth], for sure.”
Johnny said the tournament has been used to promote unity among the 15 bands.
Douglas Hance, Johnny said, was instrumental in spearheading more independence for the 15 local First Nations bands, removing Indian Affairs from Williams Lake and establishing band offices on the reserves.
“He was also the key person to establish the foundation of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, he organized the Fish Lake Cultural Centre and incorporated the Cariboo Indian Enterprise on the military block at Riske Creek,” Johnny said.
“This led the 15 bands to draw financial wealth from his success in many facets.”
The Arrows Sports Club would like to invite everyone to attend the tournament, which kicks off Saturday at 9 a.m. with round robin play.
Tournament playoffs go Sunday March 27, with finals to be played Sunday afternoon.