Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni Games
October 29-30, 2022 | Marketing and Branding
The Toronto Maple Leaf Alumni Game took place in Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island on October 29th, 2022 hosted by Wiikwemkoong Tourism.
The Toronto Maple Leaf Alumni team hit the ice to play off against local hockey stars from the island. The event had 800 total in-person attendees, the majority being First Nations youth and 918 online attendees. A second game was hosted the following day in Takwa Tagamou Nation in Cochrane, Ontario, which had 700 attendees.
ITO was excited to support the event, featuring Toronto Maple Leaf legends Rick Vaive, Ric Nattress, and Shane Corson, among many other heavy hitters.
“Hockey has a long, proud history in Wikwemikong, in Mnidoo Mnis and across our Communities in this Land. Hockey has contributed to individual growth as well as overall community growth. Our people have learned and succeeded in so many ways as a result of hockey. The process of discipline and aspiring to achieve the best continues to help ground our children, youth and families in their daily lives by providing the avenue for overall pride, confidence and teamwork. Hockey can empower. Empowered youth empowers communities which empowers our Indigenous nations as a whole” said Ogimaa Manitowabi of Wikwemikong Unceded Territory.
According to a 2019 report from the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance and Sport Tourism Canada, sport tourism was labelled the fastest-growing segment of the tourism industry in Canada, totalling $7.4 billion in annual spending by domestic and international visitors. ITO was eager to contribute to the sport tourism industry in Ontario with an Indigenous lens while identifying the need for an Indigenous sport tourism strategy in the near future.
These puck drops are the beginning of ITO’s long future showcasing Indigenous sport tourism in the province while sharing an important part of all Indigenous cultures with the rest of the world.