The Nk’maplqs Challenge Cup takes place at three Vernon arenas from today until Sunday.

The Nk’maplqs Challenge Cup takes place at three Vernon arenas from today until Sunday.

Vernon hosts 21 team

The 12th annual Nk’maplqs Challenge Cup begins today and runs until Sunday at Kal Tire Place, Priest Valley Arena and Civic Arena

  • Mar. 25, 2016 5:00 a.m.

A hockey tradition is hitting the ice for the Easter weekend.

The 12th annual Nk’maplqs Challenge Cup begins today and runs until Sunday at Kal Tire Place, Priest Valley Arena and Civic Arena.

“We have many returning players, teams and friends and without their love for the game, we would not be able to host such an event,” said Keith Louis, Challenge Cup president and Okanagan Indian Band member.

The tournament began in 2005 under the leadership of the late Jay Louis.

“We wanted to showcase our young competitors in our community and decided to come together with the goal to bring aboriginal hockey here in Vernon,” said Keith Louis.

This year, there are 21 teams from throughout the province in three divisions.

“Many of our reserve communities have memories of when we all started hockey, whether it be played in community arenas, or on makeshift ice,” sad Louis. “I remember skating on Okanagan Lake with a dozen of kids from the reserve trying to put the puck in between two boots.  These fond memories will be shared over and over again with family and friends, perhaps a story to laugh about in the change rooms sharing our experience with young and upcoming hockey players.”

Louis insists that the focus of the Challenge Cup is mentoring aboriginal youth and promoting sportsmanship.

“Our committee remains consistent with our message.”

Admission is $10 a day or $20 for a three-day pass.

For information, go to www.facebook.com/groups/54523250641/