In the 2023 National Aboriginal Hockey Championships, the female team won silver and the male team won gold, each earning incredible achievements along the way.
From May 7-13, the 20th National Aboriginal Hockey Championships (NAHC) was held in Winnipeg at the Seven Oaks Arena.
The last time the NAHC was held in Winnipeg was in 2009.
Throughout the tournament, the Team Manitoba 18U female team had a 4-0 streak in the preliminary round, beat Alberta 4-1 in the semi-finals but couldn't manage to pull the win against Ontario in the gold medal game; they lost 1-2 and received silver medals.
Since the tournament began in 2003, Team Manitoba has been no stranger to the podium. The women have won five gold medals, one silver medal, and four bronze, including winning gold at the 2022 championships.
"As a Red River Métis assistant coach, it is a privilege to be able to lead the best U18 Indigenous players in Manitoba to the NAHC championships," says Katie Bassett, assistant coach for Team Manitoba to the Manitoba Métis Federation. "This tournament is a very meaningful experience for both myself and the players. This competition is a fantastic chance to highlight our team's abilities and culture. Being able to guide and mentor these players is a rewarding privilege."
The Team Manitoba 18U male team had two wins and one tie in the preliminary round, beat Nunavut 10-4 in the quarterfinals, and beat Saskatchewan 5-2 in the semifinals.
It was Ontario, the defending champions who Manitoba faced in the finals and showed no mercy as they won gold with a score of 5-2, which is the first time the male team has won the championships since 2019.
In the past, the male team has captured three gold medals, two silvers, and six bronzes since 2003.
"Our rosters are comprised of Indigenous players from across the province, with many of the players battling and competing against each other throughout the years," says Hayden Yaremko, Team Manitoba's assistant coach. "Now, they find themselves representing Manitoba together and have an opportunity to build new friendships and meet other Indigenous players from across the country."
Two players from the Team Manitoba male team have received recognition with awards as well.
Marlen Edwards from Lake Manitoba First Nation was awarded as the top forward throughout the tournament for his hard work, dedication and commitment to the team.
Mariko Bercier, the goaltender for Team Manitoba, received the Most Valuable Goaltender award with a .936 save percentage, and a 2.25 goals-against average.