Ross Assinewe and children holding a Pike from the Midget derby .

SAGAMOK ANISHAWBEKParents, grandparents and supporters of the Midget and Atoms Little NHL teams held two successful ice fishing derbies on Big Lake LaCloche in Sagamok Anishnawabek on the last weekend of January and the first weekend in February to raise funds for their team’s trip to the hockey tournament in March.

Starting at 9:00 am each day, children and adults made their way onto the frozen lake with hopes of catching the biggest fish.  The lake is well-known for its pike population and walleye, drawing fisher people to the area both in summer and winter.

Midgets team manager Angel Francis and helper PJ Ouimete and parents managed to attract 63 adults and 16 children to participate in their derby on January 27 while Atoms Manager Veronica Nashkawa had 116 adults entering the Atoms derby vying for the prize money and 25 excited children participated in the Atoms derby.
Adult winners in the Midget derby included: First place was won by Allen Abitong with a four-pound 14-ounce Pike, second place went to Tyrone Stoneypoint with a four-pound four-ounce Pike and Amanda Steinke took third place with a little over four-pound Walleye.  Children’s first place winner was Paige Lee’s three-pound one-ounce Pike, second place went to Danika Abitong with a three-pound Pike and Brookly Dodge caught a Pike weighing two pounds to take third place.  According to parent Ross Assinewe who did the weigh in duties, all of the children had fun.
The winners in the Atoms adult division were: Missy Joncas who won first prize of $750, second prize of $300 went to Rheal Eshkakogan and Christine Steinke walked away with the $150 third place win.  In the children’s division, Brady Francis took first prize of $125, Blake Bishop won $75 for second and Raya Steinke took the $50 third prize.
Atoms manager Veronica Nashkawa said,  “We are so grateful for the overwhelming support from each and every person who fished, and those who came out to eat.”  “The event was an overwhelming success raising over $3800 for the trip.”
Sponsors supporting the Atoms derby include parents Victor and Gail Francis who donated $200 towards 1st place, Mike and Whitney Pregent contributed $100 towards first place. Other sponsors included Ken Toulouse Construction sponsored second place for $300, and Sheldon Toulouse Trucking sponsored third place for $150.  Community members donated cash ranging from $10-30 and some donated prizes for the prize table. An elimination draw of $60 was donated by Shawn Francis.  Myles Trudeau won the prize and he donated the winnings back to the fund.
The Affinity Food Group donated $2,000 for the Midget team’s trip — Affinity is the group owning several Wendy’s Restaurants including the local Wendy’s at Highways 6 and 17.  McTwin Bait and Tackle of Webbwood sponsored the trip as well.  Also, $2,000 was raised through selling “Match 3” tickets.  Half of the proceeds went to Robert Turpin who held the winning ticket on the “Match 3”.
Chief Paul Eshkakogan and his council gifted the all LNHL teams $5,000 to help pay for rooms and meals for squad members and parents at the LNHL tournament.