Cree players setting – and scoring – goals in CPJHL

by Matt Mackinder

The Canadian Premier Junior Hockey League is getting a big boost from First Nations hockey players and fans. 

After struggling through its inaugural season in 2016-2017, the CPJHL made its first foray into Quebec this year with the launch of the Maniwaki Mustangs.

Located 135 kilometres northeast of Ottawa adjacent to the Kitigan Zibi Reserve, Maniwaki is home to a growing Indigenous population. That reality is reflected on the Mustangs roster, which is largely comprised of First Nations players – including two from Eeyou Istchee, Brandon Wadden and Niko Trapper.

An 18-year-old from Waskaganish, Wadden debuted in the CPJHL with the Madawaska Valley Falcons before getting shipped to Maniwaki late in 2017. The change of address has not hurt Wadden, who leads the league with an impressive 42 goals through his first 17 contests, including a spectacular eight-goal performance in a 15-7 Falcons win over Ottawa on October 15.

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