Hockey player Aundeck Omni Kaning lives his dream by playing in the OHL

Samuel Assinewai of the Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation plays in the OHL this season for the Flint Firebirds.

FLINT, MICHIGAN – Samuel Assinewai is living his dream playing in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) this season!

“Yes, everything is great; I’ve always wanted to play in the OHL, ”Samuel said in an interview on October 23, during a weekend where he was able to return home to Aundeck Omni Kaning (AOK) for a visit. “It’s nice to be able to take a weekend off. “

He’s also made it clear that he hopes to someday play in the National Hockey League (NHL).

“I am amazed to be in the stands watching him, I can’t imagine how amazed Samuel is,” said Father Shaun Assinewai of his son playing for the Flint Firebirds. “I was in his first two games this season, and it was nothing short of exciting to be there and watch him play.”

Samuel Assinewai, 17, was drafted by the Flint Firebirds in April 2020. He was selected in the 13th round of the OHL draft, the 256th player taken in the draft.

“I played for the Rayside Balfour Canadiens last year,” Samuel told The Expositor. The year before, he had played for the Detroit Compuware Bantams in the High Performance Hockey League, one of America’s top development leagues for up-and-coming prospects.

With the COVID-19 pandemic last year, Samuel was unable to try his hand at the Firebirds (the OHL season has been canceled). “But this year I tried for the team and I was successful.”

Growing up on Manitoulin Island, “I played for the Little Current Flyers when I was younger and then for the Manitoulin Panthers for three seasons,” Samuel told The Expositor.

“He’s doing fine, great,” said Shaun Assinewai, who said he plans to move to Mount Pleasant, Michigan (near Flint) within the next month to be closer to his son.

Samuel attended Grand Blanc High School in Flint, Michigan. “There are about 10 players on the team who all go to the same high school, which is great.” As for the Firebirds, they get quite a bit of ice time on the left wing. He’s been on the fourth, second and third rows at times this season and has started every game this season. “I play most of the time on the fourth line. There are a lot of good players on this team. There has been a big change this season with COVID-19. Teams face a lot of younger players on their rosters, with older players having practically lost two seasons.

“The strongest part of my game is making games,” Samuel told The Expositor. He’s staying with a family in Flint, and “they’re great people. I’m really having fun, everything went well.

Catherine J. Martinez