Hockey great visits islands

  • Apr. 17, 2009 6:00 a.m.

By Nijong legas ayah–Last Wednesday was a very exciting day and evening in Old Massett. Gino Odjick and Peter Leech came to town and spent an enjoyable day touring the schools and attending dinners. The pair arrived on islands on Tuesday and spent a nice evening in Skidegate before heading north and arriving in Masset. They spent the morning and afternoon touring Chief Matthews and George M. Dawson schools and talking with the students and encouraging healthy living. The two representing the Halaw group travel to First Nation villages all over North America and promote healthy lifestyles. For both the gentlemen it was their first visit here and they were very impressed by the beauty and culture of the islands. The elders centre held a lunch in their honour and it was attended by approximately 30 persons. Gino said this was his first time to be addressing elders and thanked them very much for their part in keeping the culture alive. He went on to say he was very impressed with the young dancers of both villages and the spirit in which they performed. Gino was also impressed with the regalia donned by the young performers The former Canuck player then went on to join the youngsters in dancing along with Peter, the halaw groups senior consultant. The community dinner at the hall was a huge success as hundreds of people attended. The visitors, along with co-ordinator Jason Majore, ensured there were a good many door prizes available for some of the lucky attendees. Our guests were not the only ones giving gifts as Alan Wilson Sr. made sure the two did not leave empty handed.The hereditary chief presented them with hand made fish hooks made in the traditional style. The gifts were very symbolic of the Haida nation and were gratefully accepted. Gino spent most of the evening signing hundreds of photos, jerseys, hats and hockey sticks. He showed tremendous poise as even late into the evening he stayed until the last of the autograph seekers had been satisfied. Peter Leech, the other half of this all native dynamic duo, hails from right here in BC as his home is near Lilloet. Peter grew up playing many different sports and excelled in hockey, soccer and boxing. In hockey, he was playing at the professional level in both the ECHL and the CHL before moving on to becoming a player agent. He now represents professional and amateur players in both hockey and basketball. All you up and coming island basketball stars take note and contact Peter should you need an agent. In soccer, Peter was a member of the national under 18 squad and represented Canada. As a boxer, he won 2 gold medal at the North American games. He lives in Vancouver when not on the road and also sports a Masters in business management. Both the dinners on Wednesday were catered by the Culinary Arts class which once again presented a most delicious and healthy offering for everyone. The pair finished up their time here with a visit to Tahayghen elementary. The children of the school sang a song for the visitors and Haida/Cultural teacher Maureen LaGroix presented them with eagle photographs and a photo disc of their visit. The two gentlemen both thanked all who made their visit so enjoyable and promised that this will be only the first visit of many. For more information on the Halaw management group check their website at How`aa Salaanaa.