The Grand Opening of the Mattagami Odamino Centre dedicated to youth was held in Mattagami First Nation, December 4. The event featured guest speakers Ted and Brandon Nolan of NHL fame, Mattagami Chief Chad Boissoneau, Shirley Gillis-Kendall, Executive Director Kunuwanimano Child and Family Services, and Timmins Mayor George Pirie.
“This was a very exciting day for everyone in Mattagami as we had been planning for an arena and space dedicated to our youth for some time. I want to thank Dayna Cosgrove for all of her efforts and creativity in making this dream come true through Kunuwanimano and Jordan’s Principle funding. We are also grateful to our youth and Secord Construction of Timmins for providing us with this much needed facility,” commented Chief Boissoneau.
Cosgrove was instrumental in spearheading the project.
“I was involved in servicing our youth and when this opportunity for funding came up, I knew we had to apply for it because I had input from our youth that this type of safe and dedicated space was needed for them. The youth provided a lot of input in the design of this facility and we worked with Secord Construction to bring it to life,” explained Cosgrove.
Odamino is an Ojibway word that translates to “children’s play space”.
“I wanted to provide a meaningful name for our new youth facility and that led me to discussing possibilities with local Elder Lawrence Naveau. He enlightened me in providing the name Odamino. It is a word from our own local Ojibway dialect and means children’s play space or area,” explained Cosgrove.
Now employed with Kunuwanimano in Chapleau, Cosgrove has organized all types of youth activity programming. She is active in promoting culture as a traditional dancer and coordinates her community’s annual powwow.
“This grand opening was a milestone for Mattagami First Nation and I am so proud that we managed to develop a first-class ice hockey arena and complex for our youth. We also managed to connect with First Nation Hockey Drive and they delivered 45 bags of hockey equipment for our youth,” explained Cosgrove.
Mattagami Councillor Jennifer Constant, who served as Master of Ceremonies, pointed out that the Mattagami Odamino Centre replaces a previously covered but open-air rink.
“Thanks to Dayna and our youth we managed to develop a four-season, enclosed arena rink with a change room with dedicated space for our youth to gather and an office for administration. The entire community benefits from the addition of this facility as it will improve the quality of life for our youth and families in Mattagami,” explained Constant.
Ted Nolan and his son Brandon spoke to the youth about focusing on their education and making their dreams come true. The visit by this father-and-son duo was also a chance for a reunion of sorts with Chief Boissoneau.
“I grew up in Garden River, where the Nolans are from and I have great memories of being part of their community and family life before I got married and moved to Mattagami. I was thrilled to be able to share the stage with these inspirational stars for such an exciting and important day for everyone in our community,” commented Chief Boissoneau.