Remembering Little NHL Founders, Earl Abotossaway and Norman Debassiage

Each year, the Little NHL is a celebration of Indigenous hockey players.

Started in 1971, with only 200 players participating, the tournament has grown to involved over 100 teams and more than 2000 players.

Two of the founders of the tournament, were Earl Abotossaway and Norman Debassiage

Norman Debassiage of M’Chigeeng First Nation passed away in 2000 at age 73.

The long time hockey coach helped bring the first ever Little Native Hockey League to fruition in the town of Little Current, on Manitoulin Island.

Another of the founders of this incredible celebration was Earl Abotossaway, passed away in 2016 at age 82. Earl was from Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation.

Locally, athletes from Walpole Island, Moraviantown, and Six Nations compete each year, and the tournament features alumni who have moved up to play Junior A, University, OHL, and NHL hockey.

We acknowledge and show appreciation and gratitude for these two founders, and the legacy they’ve left.

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