BY LINDSAY BRISCOE
He shies away from the attention, but in his hometown of Frenchman’s Head on Lac Seul First Nation, English River Miners’ #10 Jared Binguis says he’s heard people refer to him as a “hometown hero.”
The exposure is new and a little strange for him but he’s grateful for the support.
Binguis, 18, grew up commuting from Lac Seul four nights a week to play minor hockey in nearby Sioux Lookout, then moved on to play with the Warriors at Queen Elizabeth High School in Sioux Lookout. He was recently recruited for the English River Miners inaugural season in the Superior International Junior Hockey League.
And last Wednesday he was back on home turf, playing for his hometown crowd.
The neutral game versus the Dryden Ice Dogs was a special one for him with many of his friends and family in the crowd cheering him on.
And he was certainly blown away by the venue, he says. Lac Seul’s new-this-year Events Centre boasts an NHL regulation size rink, seating capacity for 1,300, as well as a conference centre, restaurant and convenience store. He says with all the new infrastructure and technology, it’s a beautiful building and something the community never had when he was growing up.
It’s made a huge difference for Lac Seul’s young hockey players, says Arena Facilities Manager Barry King. They used to send about 30 players to Sioux Lookout for practice and games, but this year they’ve attracted 80 players to their first minor hockey league.
“It’s great. The kids are on the ice four times a week,” says King. “Last week they entered their first tournament outside of something like Little Bands in Sioux Lookout. They were the finalists in the B-side championship. So they’re getting more exposure to a different style of hockey. We’re playing regular hockey games against Sioux Lookout too.”
And last Wednesday’s game between the English River Miners and the Dryden Ice Dogs was the icing on the cake for the whole community, especially the young players.
“I feel like I’m a role model to most of the kids that are playing in that rink now,” says Binguis.
“I think they had all left before we finished but my brother was there and I could tell he was pretty proud and amazed that maybe someday he could be playing in this league too.”
The Miners defeated the Dryden Ice Dogs at the Lac Seul game on Nov. 27 with a final score of 4-2.