More than a thousand fans packed the Yakabuski Centre in Barry’s Bay over the weekend for the return of the Opeongo Heritage Cup; a hockey tournament where players represent their national origins.
In the men’s final, the German team won a 3-2 overtime thriller over the Kashubian nation. The Germans also won in the women’s pool, finishing with a 4-0 win over the Kashubian nation team. The Irish team won the pool for older men.
But organizer David Shulist says the real winner was the community itself, which saw a great celebration of multiculturalism.
“Everybody wins on this one,” he says. “It’s not just winning the hockey game; it’s about feeling pride of your connection to your ancestry. Our logo still says ‘proud to be Canadian and proud of your cultural group.’”
The Cup is an annual tradition that started in 2006, but it wasn’t played the last two years due to COVID. Shulist says the enthusiasm of fans this year was as strong as ever.
“I don’t see, in the near future, that this event is going to slow down in any way. I think we set records (for attendance this year). There will definitely be an event in the future and stronger and stronger and better.”