51 Indigenous coaches receive grants from CAO and Hydro One

  • June 20, 2024

Indigenous Hockey Coaching Grant aims to help remove barriers and make hockey more affordable and accessible to coaches and young players from Indigenous communities

TORONTO, June 20, 2024 – Today, Hydro One Inc. (Hydro One) and the Coaches Association of Ontario (CAO) announced the 51 recipients of Hydro One’s Indigenous Hockey Coaching Grant. Coaches from 34 Indigenous communities across Ontario received up to $1,500 in funding to help increase Indigenous representation in sports leadership roles.

One of the grant recipients, Pamala Agawa, the head coach of Team Ontario, the all-Indigenous team representing the province of Ontario at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships as well as other Indigenous teams, is excited to continue to cultivate the athletic abilities and love of the game in her players in a seasoned and encouraging environment.

“As a head coach and mom to two rep hockey players, I know how important it is for the kids to feel included and a part of the team,” said Pamala Agawa. “Being able to cover my certifications will allow me to continue to coach at the AA level while teaching the girls how to play the game and foster a sense of community that will grow into lifelong friendships.”

“A coach has the power to inspire generations of youth to excel in not only sport but in everything they do,” said Jeremy Cross, Executive Director, Coaches Association of Ontario. “Each day, we support coaches across Ontario in creating safe and positive experiences for all athletes. We are thrilled for the second year of recipients of Hydro One’s grant and are excited to watch them inspire and encourage young players through sport. ” 

“Hydro One is proud to help champion more opportunities for Indigenous coaches to share the power of sport through inclusion and accessibility,” said Penny Favel, Vice President, Indigenous Relations & Sustainability, Hydro One. “After the exceptional participation at this year’s Little NHL tournament, it’s clear that coaches are important role models and leaders in their communities. We look forward to seeing the incredible work they do for their players and teams as they continue to make the sport safe, accessible and fun.”

Announced at the Little Native Hockey League (Little NHL) tournament in Markham in March, Hydro One’s Indigenous Hockey Coaching Grant builds on the company’s existing partnership with the CAO and the Little NHL, which has been bringing Indigenous athletes together for close to half a century This year’s Little NHL tournament saw the largest number of competitors, including the highest number of female skaters, participating in its history.

“The excitement and anticipation of being on a sports team was on full display at this year’s tournament, and it starts with representation for our First Nations youth,” said Chico Ralf, Acting President, Little Native Hockey League. “Both my kids have played and coached in the Little NHL so I know firsthand that this grant from Hydro One and the CAO will continue to have positive impacts by knocking down any barriers that may have held them back in the past.”

The following coaches and communities were selected to receive up to $1,500 from Hydro One and the Coaches Association of Ontario:

Adam Bernard, Pikwakanagan Jr. Thunderbirds – Pikwakanagan

Amber Debassige, Nawash Warriors – Owen Sound

Andrew Paul Isaac, U11 Walpole Island Hawks 1 – Walpole Island

BJ Beaver, Curve Lake Screaming Eagles – Roseneath

Blake Naponse, Atikameksheng Stingers – Sudbury

Brett Holzwarth, Garden River Braves – Sault Ste. Marie

Carson Abitong, Sagamok Eagles – Sagamok

Casey Abitong, Sagamok Eagles – Sagamok

Dan III George, Kettle Point U18 Boys Rec Team – Kettle & Stoney Point

Debra Nolan, Garden River U11 Atom Rec – Garden River

Deylin Jacobs, Akwesasne Wild

Evan Coppaway, Curvelake Screaming Eagles – Brant

Heather George, Kettle Point Boys U13; Kettlepoint Boys U18 – Grand Bend

Jamie Mallette, Wiky Hawks – Wikwemikong

Jasen Restoule, Dokis First Nation U11 Rec. – Sturgeon Falls

Jason Shawana, Wiky Warriorz – Brantford

Jason Young, Etobicoke Stars – Toronto

Joe Ominika, U18 Wikwemikong Lady Hawks – Wikwemikong

Jordan Zachariah, Tyendinaga Thrashers – Mississauga

Joseph Naokwegijig, Wikwemikong Murray Hill Slabs – M’Chigeeng

Justin McGregor, Whitefish River Warriors U11 – Birch Island

Justin Smith, Kettle and Stony Point U13 & U18 teams – Kettle & Stony Point

Kerry King, Mississauga First Nation Migiziinsag U13 – Sault Ste. Marie

Kiley MacIntyre, Rama U15 Bantam – Rama

Kodi Chrisjohn, CMO U11 Girls – Muncey

Kristen Smith, Six Nations U7 – Hagersville

Kyle Gee, U15 Six Nations Kings Boys Competitive – Caledonia

Kyle Brooks, Aamjiwnaang Under-11 Boys Team – Toronto

Kylee Vyse, Grand River Spirit – Ohsweken

Lyle Baibomcowai, Sagamok Eagles – Birch Island

Marvin Mcleod, Chi Genabek U15 – Cutler

Melvin McLeod, Nipissing Warriors – North Bay

Michael Corston, Moose Cree Scrappers – Gogama

Mike Rochon, Curve Lake Nimkiins Kwe – Parry Sound

Mike Wilson, Six Nation – Port Dover

Murray Sandy, Chimnissing DreamCatchers – Christian Island

Nikita Ray, Chapleau Huskies U11 House League; BHFN Warriors U11 Rec League – Chapleau

Pamala Agawa, U18 Female Atikameksheng; U11 Female Batchewana; U15 Markham-Stouffville Stars – East Gwillimbury

Paul Pitura, Nipissing Warriors U18 Girls – Hanmer

Rayce Vyse, Six Nations Mavericks – Ohsweken

Robert Purser, Chippewas of Nawash Warriors – Wiarton

Rodger Martin, Six Nations Black Hawks – Hagersville

Scott Kaiser, Tyendinaga Thrashers – Belleville

Shannon Agowissa, U9 Atikameksheng Stingers – Naughton

Shawn Restoule, Wasauksing Hawks – Parry Sound

Sidney Jones, Garden River U11 Atom Rec Boys – Garden River

Tara Hedican, Serpent River U13 Rec; U15 Kenora Thistles – Kenora

Terrence Hardisty, Moose Cree Scrappers Rec Team – Moose Factory

Terri Fisher CMO U11 Girls – Muncey

Tyler White, U15 Bkejwanong Ducks – Walpole Island

Zenobie Ney, U9 Mississagi Migizinsag – Blind River

Hydro One directs at least 20 per cent of its corporate donations and sponsorships to Indigenous communities and initiatives that benefit Indigenous communities.

For more information about the grant and the partnership between Hydro One and CAO, please visit safesport101.coachesontario.ca/lnhl.


Increasing indigenous leadership in sport