Dakotah, who was born in Chapleau and started his career in the Chapleau Minor Hockey Association returned home to speak to youth at Brunswick House First Nation and Chapleau Cree First Nation.
The son of Isabelle (Saunders) and Gordon Woods, he is a member of Brunswick House First Nation.
His talks focused on dedication, commitment and determination to achieve goals. "It's what you need, not only in sport but in life overall.
However, twice in our texting interview he mentioned the "special feeling" he got in seeing smiles on the youth's faces.
"It was a great experience for me. going back to my community and putting smiles on the kids' faces", adding that it is "always good to share your story with others as well".
Dakotah signing rookie cards
Dakotah added: "It was a great opportunity for me to share my story with people back home, to let them know there's more out there than getting into trouble and going down the wrong road".
He was pleased with the response to his talks where he also signed Rookie cards for each of the attendees who also received a cap, puck and Quebec Remparts hoodie.
"I had a great time doing this. It was very good for myself as well as for the people listening and good for the people in the community. It's always s special feeling seeing all the kids with the smiles on their faces."
Dakotah with from left Christine Redbreast, Angela Saunders and Margaret Quakagesik at Brunswick House First Nation
His hockey career actually started in the Mrs. A.W. Moore Arena when he was four years old with figure skating lessons. In an earlier interview, he explained that figure skating had helped him a lot.
"You know you learn all your edges and have to stay balanced or you fall. Strapping on a pair of skates at young age is tough. Figure skating taught me a lot."
Dakotah with from left Tracy Martin and Peggy Domingue at Chapleau Cree First Nation
He played minor hockey in Chapleau until his family moved to North Bay in 2008. Before joining the Remparts of theQuebec Major Junior Hockey League for the 2015-16 season, he played for the Elliot Lake Wildcats of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League.
He also played several exhibition games with the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League, so has the distinction of playing in two of Canada's major junior hockey leagues.
Dakotah is already preparing for the upcoming hockey season. He advised that he is in the gym five or six days a week, working on his weaknesses as well as his strengths. "Foot speed is the biggest weakness I am working on now".
"I am getting the proper rest and enjoying the rest of the time with friends and family before this upcoming season."
Dakotah added: "I thank both reserves for welcoming me to come and visit and hear what I had to say. I also thank everyone who has supported me. I wouldn't be where I am today without thrm".
His father Gordie extended thanks to Mervin Cheechoo who is helping Dakotah with his motivational speaking, and also to his agent Adrian Gedye for all his help. Gordie also thanked Dakotah's personal psychological and physical coach, Chris St. Marseille, who deals with these aspects of his son's game.
I extend my most sincere congratulations to Dakotah for taking time to chat with the youth and Brunswick House First Nation and Chapleau Cree First Nation, and yes, it is always a great feeling when we can put smiles on people's faces. All the best for the upcoming season Dakotah. My email is email@example.com