A hockey team in North Battleford, Sask., is taking it upon themselves to honour the students of Indian residential schools. The Battlefords North Stars will be wearing redesigned orange jerseys with the “Every Child Matters” logo at their Jan. 7 game.
The initiative is a way to acknowledge and recognize the truths of residential schools to their community and surrounding areas.
“We thought, what better thing to do than to support the individuals around us?” said Kennedy Schmidt, North Stars office manager.
The North Stars will also be having a puck toss where they will be selling pucks during the second intermission. The pucks will be dropped to the ice and whichever puck is closest to the centre dot will win half of the proceeds. The other half of the proceeds will be donated to the Acahkos Awasisak, a group under the Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs (BATC) that supports residential school survivors.
The project co-ordinator for the residential school searches says the initiative is a step forward to reconciliation in the community.
“The community feels for us and they want to make things right,” said Karen Whitecalf. “This is one way that they can acknowledge what happened (with residential schools).”
During Friday night’s game, the Battlefords North Stars will be recognizing Red Pheasant Cree Nation for leasing their designated lands used to grow crops as a major fundraiser for the hockey team.
“They have done a lot for us and we want to show our recognition to them for that,” said Schmidt.
The North Stars have invited the surrounding Indigenous leaders to attend and witness the event. Singer Falynn Baptiste from the Red Pheasant Cree Nation will open the game by singing the national anthem.
The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) is available 24 hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their residential school experience.