‘It could open doors to future generations’: First ever NHL Cree broadcast

Clarence Iron will be doing play-by-play for the Montreal Canadiens and Carolina Hurricanes Roger Hometown Hockey in Cree broadcast on March 24, 2019. Clarence Iron / Facebook

History will be made on March 24 when an NHL game is broadcast in Plains Cree for the first time.

Sportsnet and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) are teaming up to deliver Rogers Hometown Hockey in Cree when the Montreal Canadiens play the Carolina Hurricanes.

Clarence Iron, a broadcaster at CFNK-FM in Pinehouse Lake, Sask., will be doing the play-by-play.

Iron said it’s something he’s only ever dreamed of and is relishing the opportunity to be part of history.

“It could open doors for future generations to one day carry the Cree language in NHL hockey,” Iron said.

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“I always put God first in everything I do and without him, I don’t think I would have this opportunity. My faith has brought me this far.”

Iron, or as his friends call him “Ciboy,” began doing play-by-play in Prince Albert in the early 90s and said he always envisioned himself calling an NHL game one day.

“I used to think maybe one day I could call an NHL game especially because I would know all the players,” Iron said.

“When you know all the players and the numbers, it’s a little easier.”

Iron grew up an Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs fan, but said he has a soft spot for the Montreal Canadiens.

“I used to listen to Danny Gallivan and I wanted to be like him and share his style. So, I used to watch a lot of Montreal games,” Iron said.

“And I knew all the old players back then like Larry Robinson, [Guy] Lafleur, [Yvon] Lambert, Ken Dryden.”
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Iron said he’s not the only one excited about the opportunity, he’s had a lot of positive feedback from family and friends.

“There are a lot of Indigenous languages, but I believe Cree is pretty dominant right now so there are people who are excited. I’m getting calls already of people who want to listen,” Iron said.

“Right now it is kind of a showcase and maybe if things work well, they could consider having Hockey Night in Canada in Cree every Saturday night.”

The game, which starts at 5 p.m. CST, will also be live streamed on CFNK-FM.

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