Connect with us

Anishinabek News

Chippewas of Rama First Nation member leads Toronto club to national fastpitch title



Rama First Nation member Denny Benson is a member of the Toronto Batmen who captured the national men’s fastpitch title this month in Surrey, B.C. – Photo courtesy of Denny Benson

By Sam Laskaris

CHIPPEWAS OF RAMA FIRST NATION – Denny Benson and his teammates were forced to put in some extra work en route to their national championship.

Actually, it was a lot of extra work.

Benson is a member of the Toronto Batmen, who captured a Canadian crown on Sept. 3. Technically, it was already Sept. 4 when the Batmen registered a 1-0 victory over Newfoundland’s Galway Hitmen, courtesy off a 15th inning inside-the-park home run, in the Canadian Men’s and Master Men’s Fastpitch Championships.

The national tourney was held in Surrey, B.C.

The Batmen and Hitmen had also met in the championship final of the men’s category at the 2022 nationals, which the Newfoundland squad had hosted. The Hitmen won last year’s title thanks to a 4-1 triumph in the gold-medal contest.

This year’s final was originally scheduled to start at 3 p.m. PST, but a rain delay pushed back the start of the match until 8 p.m.

And since the contest, which featured seven innings of regulation play, required a whopping eight extra innings to decide a winner, it was about 12:30 Monday morning when the game ended.

“It was wild,” Benson said of the national final. “It was definitely a great game. And to beat that Newfoundland team was really nice.”

Benson and his teammates didn’t get to celebrate or have any immediate sleep afterwards as they had to be at the Vancouver airport around 4 a.m. to catch their return flight to Toronto.

Benson’s teammate Mason McKay was the hero of the contest as his 15th-inning hit bounced off the outfield wall. McKay managed to circle all the bases and score the winning run on the play.

For Benson, a 27-year-old who works as a Chippewas of Rama First Nation firefighter, this marked the first time he had won a national men’s title.

He had previously captured gold medals at a pair of Canadian junior men’s (23 and under) tournaments.

For starters, Benson was a member of the Team Ontario squad that took top honours at the Canada Summer Games held in Winnipeg in 2017.

The following year, Benson was on an Owen Sound club that won the Canadian junior men’s title.

Benson said winning this year’s national championship was the most significant one for him.

“One hundred per cent [this one means more],” he said. “The guys are all elite level at this point.”

Benson is highly regarded as earlier this year, he was one of 40 individuals named to the pool of athletes being considered for the Canadian roster for the 2025 world championships. Canada will attempt to advance to that event via a qualifier next year in Prince Albert, Sask.

“It’s a tough roster to crack,” Benson said of his chances of being named to the national squad. “There’s a lot of good guys there.”

Benson, who primarily played as a right fielder at the nationals, is the only Indigenous player on the Batmen roster.

And he was a key player for the Toronto squad in Surrey. He had a team-high .393 batting average in eight tournament matches. He also racked up 11 hits, 12 runs batted in (RBIs), and three home runs in those appearances.

The Batmen participated in five other tournaments this year, including the International Softball Congress world championships.

Benson and his teammates placed seventh in that event, which was held in the Wisconsin village of Denmark last month.

Continue Reading

Anishinabek News

Administrative Coordinator




Continue Reading

Anishinabek News

Executive Assistant to the Vice-President Academic and Research (VPAR)




Continue Reading

Anishinabek News

Mikinakoos Children’s Fund launches $15,000 fundraiser for GivingTuesday




Mikinakoos Children’s Fund aims to raise $15,000 to provide vital winter clothing to 18 First Nations, collaborating with the KO First Nations, Keewaytinook Internet Highschools, and Fort Hope First Nation on GivingTuesday on November 28, 2023. – Photo supplied

THUNDER BAY (November 22, 2023) — Mikinakoos Children’s Fund, an Indigenous children’s charity providing essentials to youth in remote First Nations in Northwestern Ontario, is announcing the launch of a special fundraiser in recognition of GivingTuesday.

In alignment with the global GivingTuesday movement, Mikinakoos Children’s Fund aims to raise $15,000 to provide vital winter clothing to 18 First Nations, collaborating with the KO First Nations, Keewaytinook Internet Highschools, and Fort Hope First Nation. The initiative seeks to purchase over 1,500 coats for children in these regions, ensuring they are equipped to brave the harsh winter months.

“The winter season can be particularly challenging in the remote areas we serve, where many children lack access to proper winter gear,” said Mikinakoos Executive Director Emily Shandruk. “Mikinakoos Children’s Fund believes that every child deserves the warmth of hope during the colder months. With this in mind, we’re launching this crucial campaign to make a positive impact.”

Recent support from TD Canada Trust’s Ready Commitment Funding, a $50,000 grant over two years, is boosting Mikinakoos Children’s Fund’s Warm Clothing initiatives, of which this initiative is a part. With growing requests from various communities and organizations, Mikinakoos’ GivingTuesday funding alone wouldn’t have sufficed. Thanks to the extra support, the charity can now ensure that no child is left without essential resources.

GivingTuesday, which falls on November 28, marks the opening day of the giving season—a global movement encouraging people to come together for a day of generosity and positive change. Mikinakoos invites individuals and organizations alike to join in the effort to make a difference.

Here’s how you can contribute:

Donate: Your contribution, regardless of size, will bring Mikinakoos Children’s Fund closer to its $15,000 goal. Every dollar counts. GivingTuesday falls on November 28; however, this fundraiser will run until December 31.
Spread the Word: Share our campaign on social media, with friends, family, and colleagues. Together, we can make a wider impact.

“The remoteness of the communities we serve presents challenges in shipping and distributing necessities, such as food, sporting equipment, and winter gear, especially with the absence of permanent roads,” said Shandruk. “Climate change has further exacerbated the inconsistency of ice road conditions, making the delivery of essential items even more difficult.”

Please consider contributing to Mikinakoos Children’s Fund’s GivingTuesday campaign through this link or by texting “WARMCOATS” to 807-500-1522. Interviews with spokespeople from Mikinakoos Children’s Fund are available upon request.

About Mikinakoos Children’s Fund

Mikinakoos Children’s Fund is a charity created to address poverty by providing basic amenities, such as food, clothing, and shelter to First Nations children residing in remote communities. Join us on this journey to create positive change and secure the safety and wellbeing First Nations children. Engage with Mikinakoos Children’s Fund on social through #FirstNationKidsFirst.


Victoria Belton
Senior Consultant
Media Profile
Tel: 416-992-5179

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2023 5039589 Ontario Inc.