"Opeongo Heritage Cup Hockey Tournament

Since its conception in 2006, the vision of Opeongo Heritage Cup is to have cultural teams represented from the Bonnechere & Madawaska Valleys. The valleys have many different cultures, and the strongest are the Algonquin, Kashubian, German & Irish. The two strongest being the Algonquins and the Kashubian. These two cultures are strong in numbers, language (which is still spoken daily) and they still practise their native and traditional crafts, music, dance, eat their traditional food, and proudly wear their traditional costumes, Cultural Dress or Regalia.

The Algonquins celebrate their culture at their annual Pow Wow on the third weekend of August and the Kashubs celebrate their culture on Kashub Day being the first Saturday in May. The Kashubs proudly show off their Griffin emblem, their gold & black cultural colours and their National Kashubian flag. The Algonquins proudly display their cultural emblem the Thunderbird and their nation’s flag.

The German culture is also strong. One can still hear the German language being spoken by a few in the region, but the cultural elements are not being practised as in the past. The Irish culture is still strong but the Gaelic language is long gone. The love of their beloved son St. Patrick is still alive with music and dance on St. Paddy’s Day. The Irish are proud to wear their shamrock and the colour green with pride.

In the spirit of the tournament teams also connect other cultures with their teams.

The German team connects with local Wendish culture, a West Slavic group. These people are from the Nation of Sorbian which is now part of the German Nation. Wendish names such as Heinz, Kutschke, Neuman, Fabian, Schimmens, Gulick, Lehman, Heiderman, etc., play for the German team. Most of the Wendish people come from the Combermere, Palmer Rapids, Quadeville & Killaloe area.

The Irish team connects with Scottish players, as they are Celtic cousins and the Irish and the Scotts are very close neighbours in Europe. Scottish names such as Murray and Maclean play for the Irish. Both Scott’s and Irish names can be found throughout the valleys.

The Kashubian Griffins team joins with their Slavic cousins the Polish. Names such as Szcyzgiel, Siydock, Brudzewski can be found on the roster. Their Nations are next door to each other in Europe and also in our community.

The Algonquins of Ontario are the original first peoples of our community and a heritage tournament would not be true without the Algonquin first people. Most Algonquins have heritage from one of the four communities in our area namely Pikwakanagan, Bonnechere, Greater Golden Lake & Whitney.

The concept of Valley Heritage and Multicultural Hockey is to bring communities together and help everyone be aware of their cultural roots. We are all proud to be Canadian and proud of our cultural roots. Hockey is our vehicle and diversity is our fuel.

Good luck to all the teams! Have fun & be proud.

Commissioner Johnny Kashub

The tournament represents more than hockey, it also represents the Canadian way of life!