The Opeongo Heritage Cup Hockey Tournament’s inaugural year was in 2006.
The idea of the multicultural hockey tournament was started by Johnny Kashub (Dave Shulist) in 1998. Dave’s passion for his own Kashubian (Eastern Europe) heritage inspired him to promote the very unique collection of different cultural groups in the Madawaska Valley.
While the tournament is referred to locally as ‘The Heritage Cup’, the official name is the Opeongo Heritage Cup, as ‘Opeongo’ is the name of the first road that brought the community’s ancestors to the Madawaska Valley area. Starting in the town of Renfrew all the way to Opeongo Lake in Algonquin Park, this road was literally the bloodline and lifeline of the region.
Tournament ideals are based on our national model of a country where everyone has a chance to embrace being Canadian first, while at the same time celebrating their own heritage…and being Canadian, what a great way to celebrate our heritage with a game or two (or three!) of hockey…
About the Tournament
This Opeongo Heritage Cup Hockey Tournament has become both a spectacle of local hockey talent and a homecoming. The tournament is made up of four Nations; the Algonquin Thunderbirds, the German Black Eagles, the Irish Shamrocks, and the Kashubian Griffins. Most of the players in this tournament have moved away because of job or school commitments, but the tournament brings them back to the Bonnechere & Madawaska Valley’s to enjoy family, friends and some great hockey fun. All of the players have family roots in our community. All players in the tournament are currently and/or previously have played in high level Canadian/ American hockey leagues, with some having played in Europe. Players come from many different Junior, Senior, and Semi-Pro Leagues such as the; OHL, OJHL, EOJHL, EOSHL, GOJHL, CCHL, PJCHL, NCAA, SPHL & U18 AAA … to name a few.
The concept of Multicultural Hockey is to bring communities together, make everyone aware of their cultural roots, be proud of their Heritage, and at the same time be very proud to live in the greatest country in the world
Proud to be Canadian & Proud of our Cultural Roots
Hockey is our Vehicle & Diversity is our Fuel
The Opeongo Heritage Cup Hockey Tournament could not happen without the support of the community and the help of countless volunteers. We would like to thank all who have contributed over the years. Notably, local heritage groups have become the workforce and the beneficiaries of this weekend long tournament. A special thanks is needed to the Killaloe Heritage Society, The Station Keepers, Barry’s Bay & Area Minor Hockey Association, and Zurakowski Park who all help take care of the running the event. Each group contributes to the cultural food, dance, bar, admission, etc. and all proceeds from the tournament go to help these nonprofit organizations. All proceeds from the tournament go to help these nonprofit organizations.
A vision without action is a nightmare. The community made sure that this vision was put into action. This whole event is a team effort.