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Sam on Sports: Dalyn Wakely

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For the second straight year Curve Lake First Nation member Dalyn Wakely was chosen as the North Bay Battalion’s most humanitarian player.

By Sam Laskaris

NORTH BAY – There’s no denying Dalyn Wakely has been improving his on-ice performances the last couple of years with the North Bay Battalion, which competes in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).

But Wakely, a 19-year-old citizen of Curve Lake First Nation, also continues to make valuable off-ice contributions.

For the second straight season, Wakely was presented with an award for being the most humanitarian player for the Battalion.

That accolade also automatically put him in the running to be chosen as the OHL’s most humanitarian player, an award that will be announced soon.

Wakely had been selected by the Battalion in the second round of the 2020 OHL Priority Selection draft.

What should have been his rookie season with the North Bay franchise was wiped out because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wakely did go on to have a decent 2021-22 season with the Battalion, earning 38 points in 80 regular season and playoff contests.

As for this season, Wakely became one of the top offensive threats for the Battalion.

Though he finished sixth in team scoring this season, he netted 30 goals in 66 regular season appearances. He had the third most goals among Battalion players, just four less than overager Kyle McDonald.

Perhaps more impressive though is the fact Wakely has become a valuable member of the North Bay community and gives back beyond of what would be expected of most teenagers.

Because of the ongoing pandemic, Wakely’s volunteer contributions were somewhat limited during the 2021-22 campaign.

He was selected as North Bay’s most humanitarian player primarily because he volunteered countless hours by hopping on Zoom calls and passing on his hockey knowledge and advice to youth hockey players not only in the city but also surrounding areas.

With restrictions lifted this season, Wakely was actually able to get out into the community and help out a lot more.

For starters, for four months every Tuesday, he would go to The Gathering Place, a North Bay-based soup kitchen, and help make lunches and then serve them to those in need of a meal as well as some conversation with a friendly face.

Wakely was there every Tuesday. And each week he would bring along two different Battalion teammates to help out as well.

Wakely also launched Wake’s Sakes, a program to support the homeless in North Bay and neighbouring communities. Donation boxes were set up at the Battalion home rink to accept coats, hats, and mitts, which would then be distributed to the homeless.

Wakely said Battalion general manager Adam Dennis as well as his billet mother greatly assisted with Wake’s Sakes, the venture though was his idea. And it was his way of giving back to North Bay, a city that has ‘adopted’ him as one of its own since he was a Battalion draft pick.

Being a junior hockey star in a relatively small city does have its perks. Wakely is frequently recognized whenever he is out in public. And local citizens often insist that they pick up a tab for some of his meals.

Wakely certainly feels the love. And he loves giving back to the community.

Kudos to the Battalion and Wakely family for helping develop such a caring human.

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