"Opeongo Heritage Cup Hockey Tournament
ALGONQUIN THUNDERBIRDS

OPEN DIVISION

Open Division Thunderbirds team photo

Welcome to the Algonquin Thunderbirds web page


The Algonquins have always lived in the Ottawa Valley since time immemorial and before the Europeans came to North America.


T

he Traditional Territory of the Algonquins of Ontario covers over 9 million acres (14,000 square miles) within the watersheds of the Ottawa and Mattawa Rivers. This area includes the National Capital Region and most of Algonquin Park. Approximately 7,000 people of Algonquin descent live in the Traditional Territory.


The Algonquin Thunderbird’s roster is a team that truly represents the Algonquin Nation. There are both status and non-status Algonquin’s on the team roster. Along with status Algonquin’s from Pikwakanagan First Nation, there are three other non-status communities that meet the criteria for individuals to participate and support their heritage at the annual Heritage Cup. These recognized Algonquin communities are, Greater Golden Lake, Bonnechere Algonquins and the Whitney and area Algonquin’s.


All participants for the Thunderbirds must possess a valid Algonquin’s of Ontario card that is issued from one of the pre mentioned communities which proves direct lineage to the Algonquin families born and raised in the Ottawa Valley and more specifically, the Madawaska region.


Our community looks forward each year to taking part in multicultural celebrations with our friends and neighbours in the Madawaska region. A large crowd of Algonquin’s gather in Barry’s Bay every March to show pride and support for our Thunderbirds taking part in the annual Heritage Cup.


The Thunderbirds have participated in the annual heritage cup since its inauguration and have incurred much success. In 2008, the Thunderbirds played to a birth in the finals against the Germans but ran short of pulling off an upset. Playing off the previous year’s success, in 2009 the Thunderbirds skill and determination was key in earning them their first of many victories. This was the start of a run that saw the Thunderbirds crowned as Heritage Cup Champions for three consecutive years in 2009, 2010 and 2011.


The Algonquins proudly display the supernatural Thunderbird on their Jerseys. The legend of the Thunderbird is derived from the common belief that the creature creates storms and the beating of its enormous wings causes thunder and stirs the wind. Lightning was believed to flash from its eyes or beak. The Thunderbird has an important role in the creation myth as a Destroyer and Controller of Nature and it was believed that the Thunderbird must be honoured and appeased. As a destroyer, this legendary creature was viewed by some tribes as an omen of war when the sound of thunder was heard. Thunder was believed to be a sign the spirits were at war in the skies but this also foretold of victory for tribal wars fought on the ground. Lightning which is strongly associated with the Thunderbird and was believed to add power and speed to the warrior.


It’s not hard to tell when the Algonquin’s are on the ice, just listen for the beat of the traditional drum and the support from all the Algonquin’s in the stands echo throughout the Barry’s Bay arena setting the stage for another exciting game of hockey.

WOMEN’S DIVISION

Women's Division Thunderbirds team photo
The tournament represents more than hockey, it also represents the Canadian way of life!