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Wiikwemkoong teen hockey player to compete at Ontario Winter Games

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Wiikwemkoong’s Koda Peltier will represent the Northern Ontario Hockey Association at next month’s Ontario Winter Games. – Photo courtesy of Stacey Dell

By Sam Laskaris

WIIKWEMKOONG UNCEDED TERRITOY – Koda Peltier faced some stiff competition at a recent hockey tryout, but the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory member was able to crack the roster for the Northern Ontario Hockey Association (NOHA) Under-14 boys’ squad that will compete at the upcoming Ontario Winter Games.

The multi-sport games will be staged Feb. 16-26 in Thunder Bay.

Peltier, who is 13, is playing with the Sudbury Wolves U-15 A squad this season. He was one of about 40 players invited to the NOHA tryout camp staged Jan. 4-6 in Powassan.

NOHA team officials had sent an e-mail to Peltier’s father inviting Koda to the camp. Thus, he registered for the tryout and headed to Powassan to see how he would fare.

Besides A players, the tryout included those who are toiling at the higher calibre AA and AAA levels this year.

A few days after the camp had concluded, Peltier was contacted and offered a spot on the NOHA club. He welcomed the opportunity to showcase his skills at the Ontario Winter Games.

Peltier is one of 19 players selected for the NOHA team.

“It was something that I wasn’t really expecting,” he said.

Peltier’s mother Stacey Dell said she too was a bit surprised, but on the other hand, she wasn’t ruling out his chances.

“If you know Koda, he’s very dedicated to what he wants to accomplish,” she said. “We’re very excited he made the team.”

Peltier began his career at the age of six when he started playing in Wiikwemkoong’s minor hockey system. He then moved up to the rep level in 2017 when he began toiling for the Manitoulin Panthers’ Under-9 team. He played four years with the Panthers’ organization.

Peltier’s family then moved to Sudbury in 2021. He spent the previous two years suiting up for the Sudbury Timberwolves’ AA squads.

Peltier is currently a Grade 8 student at St. Charles College in Sudbury, and is hoping to play for his elementary school team, which is expected to begin its season soon.

Of course, he’s also looking forward to participating at the Ontario Winter Games.

“This is going to be the biggest tournament I’ve ever been in,” he said.

Though his teammates in Thunder Bay come from various towns and cities and many are currently playing at a higher rep level, Peltier is confident he’ll fit right in.

“I know a lot of the kids on the team,” he said. “It won’t be hard to play with them.”

Peltier is also looking to eventually play at a much higher level himself.

“I definitely want to play junior hockey,” said Peltier, who considers Toronto Maple Leafs’ forward Auston Matthews his favourite National Hockey League player and the Leafs his favourite pro franchise.

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