'Our reputation helps a lot': Membertou First Nation in N.S. to host National Aboriginal Hockey Championship
More than 500 of the best Aboriginal hockey players will lace up their skates in Membertou First Nation this May.
The announcement was made Wednesday in the community's main arena.
"Realities dictate to us that Aboriginal hockey players in mainstream hockey are systematically left out and subjected to racism," says Tex Marshall, a member of the National Aboriginal Hockey Championship Committee.
It's the second time Membertou has hosted the national event, which will be held just two weeks after the Telus Cup.
The last time the Telus Cup was held in Nova Scotia was more than 20 years ago in New Glasgow when it was called the Air Canada Cup.
"I think it's a credit to what we've done in the past. The feedback from the 2018 version was very positive. It's been highlighted as one of the best they ever had, So there always was a plan to come back here, it's just a little quicker than we thought," says Paul Carroll, the general manager of the Membertou Sport and Wellness Centre.
With a hotel and restaurant nearby and a modern sports complex with two ice pads, this Mi'kmaq community had all of the bells and whistles to win over representatives from the national level.
The economic spinoff will benefit surrounding areas.
"I don't know the exact numbers, but it's in the millions. A couple of million will be left behind and that helps all of us," says Membertou Chief Terry Paul.
Off the ice, Membertou is also attracting new businesses to the community.
Just off the highway construction is underway for a new retail district, called Seventh Exchange, similar to Dartmouth Crossing.
"We always try to get something that's beneficial to the area and our reputation helps a lot," says Chief Paul
A reputation that continues to help the First Nation community grow as one of the most prosperous in the country.