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Maritime hockey league to wear jerseys with indigenous focus




The Maritime Junior Hockey League is planning a special week focusing on indigenous recognition and reconciliation.

All 12 teams in the league will wear specially designed orange and white jerseys later this month as part of the league’s reconciliation week.

The jerseys were created in consultation with local First Nations leaders.

“We thought it was very important to make sure we were doing it the right way,” said competition president Steve Dykeman. “We wanted to make sure we were respectful while bringing out the right kind of recognition.”

The new jerseys have an emblem on the front and back that reads Every Child Matters.

‘Very well done’

A photo of residential school survivors also wraps around the hockey jerseys below each team’s logo and player number. The words Every Child Matters has also been translated into Mi’kmawand Wolastoqey on a black stripe that runs around the bottom of the jerseys.

“They’ve done a really good job and it’s about raising awareness and educating the public about Indigenous matters,” said Millbrook First Nation Chief Bob Gloade. “When you talk about truth and reconciliation, this is what matters.”

Millbrook is adjacent to the city of Truro. Sonny Kabatay, of Membertou First Nation in Cape Breton, plays for the Truro Bearcats.

He said wearing the jerseys will have a special meaning for the indigenous players in the league.

“It’s great that the competition is doing this,” says Kabatay. “It will be very special for the game that we will wear them and it will be something that I will always remember.”

Sonny Kabatay is a native hockey player with the Truro Bearcats of the Maritime Junior Hockey League. (Edgy sports images)

A former NHL player from New Brunswick also plays a role in the project.

Everett Sanipass grew up in the Elsipogtog First Nation, where he still lives. He played professional hockey with the Chicago Blackhawks and Quebec Nordiques. He also spent time playing in the American Hockey League with the Halifax Citadels.

“The more people we can reach and educate about what this means for Indigenous people is very important,” said Sanipass, the first player of First Nations descent to be inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame. “We all need to work together to find solutions that are comfortable for everyone.”

Everett Sanipass, who grew up on the Elsipogtog First Nation, played in the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks and Quebec Nordiques. (Chicago Blackhawks/NHL)

Sanipass, who was involved in the planning of the new jerseys, said he will be in some of the arenas where the matches will be played. The junior league has six teams in Nova Scotia, five in New Brunswick and one in Summerside, PEI

The jerseys worn during the 12 matches will be auctioned off by each team at the end of the schedule. Dykeman said each team is expected to donate proceeds from the jersey auction to indigenous communities in their respective communities.

Match schedule

  • November 24 Miramichi at Grand Falls.
  • November 25 Miramichi in Edmundston.
  • November 25 Truro in Pictou County.
  • Nov. 26 Pictou County at South Shore.
  • November 26 Summerside in Truro.
  • November 26 Fredericton in Valley.
  • November 27 Truro in Amherst.
  • November 27 Campbellton in Miramichi.
  • November 27 Edmundston at Summerside.
  • November 28 Amherst in Yarmouth.
  • Dec 3 Pictou County at Campbellton.
  • December 5 Edmundston at Fredericton.




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