By Neil Becker
Breaking into a smile, Nolo Squire admitted to being ‘shocked’ in hearing his name being called.
This skilled Six Nations Pee-Wee Rep forward received lots of praise from coach Dennis MacDonald before hearing his name being called at the Six Nations Minor hockey awards banquet for winning the Most Sportsmanlike Award.
“I had no clue that I was going to win this award. It’s pretty exciting,” Squire said. This 11-year-old who scored a variety of clutch goals replied that the biggest highlight to this past season was “Sweeping Burford three nothing in the first round.”
Focusing on what he likes best about hockey Squire quickly said, “Skating. I have fun skating.”
When asked about Squire’s growth as a player coach MacDonald replied, “Nolo is hard working and puts the team first. He puts in extra work with his shot and he stopped talking penalties and started drawing penalties.”
Sitting beside Squire was his brother Hiio Squire whose season long dedication of playing goal for the Six Nations Novice Rep team was rewarded with him winning the Most Dedicated Award.
“I was super surprised,” Squire, who is 9 years-old said. In terms of what he likes best about hockey Squire paused for a moment before saying, “Seeing my friends and working hard.”
The number one highlight for Squire was the LNHL tournament where he backstopped his Six Nations Blackhawks team into the Novice ‘A’ championship where they dropped a 4-1 decision against the Walpole Island Hawks.
Also receiving a big ovation and some hardware was Hiio Squire’s teammate in forward Calder Anderson who won the Love of the Game trophy for his team.
“This is the first trophy I have ever won,” Anderson said. Anderson is a big fan of San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns. He said what he likes best about hockey is “Seeing all my friends.”
Showing true sportsmanship was 12-year-old Pee Wee LL forward Billy Whitlow who during LNHL tournament played the last eight minutes of the first game in goal.
“Our goalie was feeling sick,” Whitlow said. “I was hoping to get one of the trophies. I just like to have fun and play with friends.”
Naturally the Six Nations minor hockey banquet isn’t just about recognizing the talents and accomplishments of players but also expressing gratitude and recognition to coaches, volunteers and those who work behind the scenes.
This year’s winner of the Penny Martin Memorial Award, which is dedication to minor hockey, went to Six Nations Novice LL#1 coach Josh Isaacs.
“I didn’t expect it,” Isaacs said. “These kids want to play hockey and need someone to lead them.”
Meanwhile Six Nations Minor Hockey president Blaine LaForme, who presented the award commented, “Josh is such a good guy. He has put in a tremendous amount of hours and these kids are the upcoming generation.”
Overall it was an exciting hockey campaign which saw friendships formed and new life long memories being made. There were also plenty of accomplishments including the Six Nations community getting behind their Midget Rep squad who came away one game shy of celebrating an OMHA title. Most importantly the Gaylord Powless Arena was full of smiling faces this past season as players developed or pursued their passion of playing hockey.