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EFC Community Connections December 2018
A monthly newsletter highlighting features and events to help connect and energize the Estonian community in Canada.

In this edition:
  • Mihkel Auksi: Estonian Hockey
  • Rahavjõulupuu wrap up
  • Profiling EFC 2018 Scholarship recipients: Toomas Saun
  • Events Calendar

Looking ahead - January:
  • 2018 Year in Review - look ahead
  • Fall Funding update from EFC
  • Memorial and Tribute Donations
  • Profiling EFC 2018 Scholarship recipients: Elin Sober-Williams
  • Events and more!
Mihkel Auksi: Canadian Player, Estonian Ice
Christmas is a time for dreams. Read Mihkel Auksi's inspiring story of connecting to his Estonian heritage through hockey.

Tere sõbrad! Minu nimi on Mihkel Mahkwa (Karu) Auksi! I am thrilled to share with the Estonian community that the 2019 IIHF World Hockey Championships Division 1B will take place in Tallinn from April 29 – May 5, 2019. I am excited to return to Estonia to support my former teammates and coaches as they continue to excite and amaze. Estonian hockey has been quietly on the rise in recent years thanks to a strong core of veterans, an emerging crop of young players, and excellent goaltending.
Follow your dreams: Let Mihkel’s story inspire you!
I am writing to encourage people to follow their dreams. In the early 2000s I defined my hockey career goals in a journal I still have today, and it reads, “I will play in the World Hockey Championships for Team Estonia. I will also play for Estonia in the Olympics, should they qualify.” It’s funny how a little bit of directed energy and visualization can literally manifest itself in real life. I will forever cherish representing Team Estonia at the 2015 IIHF World Hockey Championships Division 1B and in 2 qualification events for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
Hockey has been a huge part of my life for over 27 years and has connected me with both my Ojibway and Estonian ancestry. In the winters of 2002-2004, I played hockey for the Lac Seul First Nation Eagles in Sioux Lookout. Just over a decade later, I played my first IIHF game for Team Estonia.
So how does one go about playing for Team Estonia? First, make sure you have Estonian Citizenship. Second, contact the Estonian Ice Hockey Federation -- they are always interested in learning about promising hockey prospects. Third, visit the International Ice Hockey Federation website to confirm eligibility requirements. For me to play on Team Estonia, I had to play in the Estonian Hockey League and live in Estonia for 2 seasons. With a tremendous amount of support from my club team and my amazing relatives in Estonia, I was able to live, work, and play the game I love.
It really is an exciting time in Estonian hockey. At the 2018 IIHF World Hockey Championships Division 1B, Team Estonia shocked the hockey world by almost winning gold. Estonia played really well ending the tournament with a bronze medal after a tough 4-1 loss to a strong Lithuanian team featuring some NHL veterans. Watching from Canada, I could see the pride and joy in the faces of the team and was inspired by the respect the Lithuanian team showed for their Baltic rivals.
My motivation for staying involved in Estonian hockey is to see Estonia promoted to Division 1A. It may seem like a dream, but each year there is strong development among young Estonian players. This past year, 3 Estonian-born players were in discussion for the European draft. Being this close is a very big deal; each player who makes it to professional hockey represents a chance at greatness and inspires others.
To all Estonians playing elite hockey outside of Estonia: follow your dreams, work hard, and have fun playing the greatest sport in the world. I get emotional writing about it - it all comes back to me in an instant. I can close my eyes and remember the people, the land, the good days, and the days I just wanted to see my parents. Thankfully, through Skype I kept in close contact with my parents and friends back home. For every rough day I had in my 2 years in Eesti, there were a hundred magical days spent with good friends, teammates and the kids playing minor hockey in Tallinn.
The future looks very bright for Estonian hockey. Thank you for all your support.
Photos: Above: Mihkel after hockey at Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto;
Below: 2018 Estonian Men's Hockey Team at IIHF
For hockey closer to home, cheer on local Team Estonia in the Baltic Cup Hockey Tournament in Toronto, Spring 2019. For details contact Markus Rosenberg .
Pssst...pass it on!
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Let us know about your event! Please email us with important dates in YOUR calendar. We will include them in the Events Calendar - and grow your audience!
We came. We saw. We celebrated.
What an incredible day! Almost 600 people came to usher in the Christmas season and join with fellow Estonians at An Estonian Christmas/Rahvajõulupuu last weekend.

It was truly a feast for the eyes, ears and the soul. Highlights of the day included performances from the TES Kindergarten classes, Esto School students, 3 age groups of Kungla folk dancing, Kõla Orchestra, and a singalong with Estonia Choir. EKKT displayed their amazing artwork. There were cultural items at the EstoBoutique as well as artisans selling knitted treasures, books, pottery, food, Christmas decorations and more. And, there was a fabulous Estonian food buffet, alongside the JK Pakapiku Pub.

On top of all that, community organizations were there with volunteers and information to keep us all up-to-date and an EFC 50-50 draw to benefit the community.

Thank you to the over 100 volunteers who coordinated it all, and to Ehatare, Toronto Estonian House, Estonian Credit Union, Estonian Foundation of Canada, Eesti Elu and Tartu College for making it all possible.

Special thanks to the door prize donors: Kai Eichenbaum, VII Design, Mamaa Trade, Leena Lilled, Krista Koger, Anita Genua, Mihkel Kütti, Seedrioru and Metsaülikool.

Mark your calendar!

An Estonian Christmas / Rahvajõulupuu 2019 will be on December 7, 2019.

Photos: Peeter Poldre
The mission of the Estonian Foundation of Canada is to support and preserve Estonian culture and heritage in Canada. To fulfill our mission, we support projects and organizations that preserve our language, heritage and traditions. For details and funding applications, contact EFC.
to support the Estonian community in Canada and ensure your 2018 tax receipt!
Tomas Saun 
2018 EFC Scholarship recipient
“There is no doubt that Estonians have a resilient culture…The fact that Estonia has been consistently under rule by a variety of other nations but has been able to maintain its language, traditions and culture is a sentiment to this resilience. So perhaps I am resilient because I am Estonian, and therefore my greatest strength is not resilience itself, but, in fact, being an Estonian.”

Tomas Saun is the fifth of seven exceptional youth in the Estonian-Canadian community who have received a 2018 EFC scholarship. A medical school graduate who has completed the first 2 years of residency training in Plastic and Reconstructive surgery, Tomas is currently working on a Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto. His long-term goal is an innovative and technology-driven plastic surgery practice in the Toronto area, with a focus on hand and upper extremity reconstruction.

Growing up in Toronto and immersed in Estonian culture, Tomas has always been highly involved in the Estonian-Canadian community. Today, he is a member and active participant in Korp! Rotalia and recently joined the Ööbik choir.

“The Estonian Foundation of Canada represents an anchor for the Estonian people in Canada and helps create a resounding echo of our people to help preserve our unique culture, traditions, and institutions and ensure an Estonian future in Canada.”
Suur Aitäh!

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, Estonian Foundation of Canada has granted over 130 scholarships to Estonian-Canadian youth since 2003.

The Estonian Foundation of Canada (EFC) is a registered charity supporting Estonian cultural and heritage activities across Canada. The Foundation is solely supported by donations and bequests from the community.

Eesti Sihtkapital Kanadas (ESK) on registreeritud heategevus, mis toetab Eesti kultuuripärandiga seotud tegevusi üle Kanada. ESK toetab rahaliselt programme ja ettevõtmisi annetuste ja päranduste kaudu.

Visit to make a donation, or subscribe and to find out more about how EFC supports the community.

Toronto / Hamilton / GTA
December 15 - TES Kindergarten Christmas Celebration / J õulupuu
January 1 - New Years Day Levee, Esto House Toronto, 2:00pm
January 19-20 - LaLaLa Choral Workshop for the Song Festival, Esto House Toronto
February 24 - EV101 - Flag raising and luncheon, Esto House Toronto by TES
March 2-10 - KLENK - IEP Cruise - Sini Must Valge in the tropics
March 23 - Estonian Song Festival Concert, featuring all Toronto-area Estonian choirs, Yorkminster Park Baptist Church 
June 27-July 3 - Esto 2019 – Helsinki, Tartu, Tallinn
July 4-7 Laulupidu and Tantsupidu , Tallinn, Estonia
December 16 - Laste Joulupuu, Meie Kodu - crafts, carols and Santa, 3:00-5:00pm
February 3 - VES Annual General Meeting
from September - Vancouver Estonian School - Coordinator Liisa Hein

March 7-10 - Esto Ski Mt. Tremblant
New York / New Jersey / Boston / Washington / Chicago
December 15 - Christmas Party, New York Estonian House
December 16 - Christmas Party, Lakewood Estonian House , 2pm