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WHL artist creating portraits featuring Saskatoon Blades players

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WHL artist creating portraits featuring Saskatoon Blades players
WATCH: Combining her passions for art and junior hockey, British Columbia artist Wendy Fang has featured several Saskatoon Blades players in her pieces which are garnering attention around the WHL – Mar 21, 2023

Completing a perfect passing play or scoring an overtime winner, you could say the Saskatoon Blades have created art on ice this season.

British Columbia artist Wendy Fang has taken that phrase literally. however, connecting with players to capture their chase for a championship on paper.

Fang’s connection to both art and junior hockey goes back over a decade, often with a pencil in hand before watching Sidney Crosby’s golden goal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics which ignited her passion for the sport.

When she noticed a gap in the market with few artists creating works around junior hockey, she began making intricate realist pieces that highlight players from across the Western Hockey League.

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“It’s special because you don’t really have a lot of moments where your two works just collide and it works so well,” said Fang.

Based out of Prince George, Wendy began drawing mostly B.C. Division teams early on before eventually expanding to include players from other areas of western Canada and the United States.

In the process, she noticed the Blades began to stand out as one of her favourites.

“In a way, I just started connecting with Blades and the organization through people who played there or their families,” said Fang. “I just kind of slowly became a Blades fan over time.”

Her artwork has been re-posted and shown off through team accounts across the league, including several postings from the Blades this season.

When the Blades got the chance to make a B.C. road trip for the first time in four years this February, members of the team got the chance to meet Wendy and see some of her pieces up close.

“I saw that picture and I was shocked,” said Blades forward Egor Sidorov. “It’s unbelievable, I’ve never seen anything like that before. A very good job.”

One Saskatoon player has been able to form a special connection with Wendy over the course of his career, that being leading scorer Trevor Wong.

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Prior to his time in Saskatchewan, Wendy sketched the playmaker dating back to the 2019-20 season while he was with the Kelowna Rockets.

“As a Kelowna fan I was kind of heartbroken when they traded Wong to Saskatoon,” said Fang. “So, I was just kind of excited to see him play a game when he came out west.”

Wong signed her personalized jersey and the two spoke about the journey since he broke into the WHL as a teenager with first-round pedigree.

“When I was 16, young, first in the league it’s just unbelievable that someone would support such a young guy coming into the league,” said Wong. “We got to see her in Prince George when we went over there for the B.C. swing. I think my mom actually bought a piece of her art of me for her. She’s pretty cool and her artwork is unbelievable.”

While these pieces are a snapshot of a player’s career, Blades like forward Brandon Lisowsky say they’re grateful to have personal mementos to look back on when their time in the WHL is over.

“The years here just fly by,” said Lisowsky. “So, just enjoying the moment, enjoying the people taking the time to do these for you. Taking the time and just appreciate where you are.”

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Most of her pieces are bought primarily by parents and billet families of the players, something she remembers each time pencil or brush hits paper.

“When I know I’m making these really meaningful pieces for them, in a way I’m doing something that is going to be long-lasting,” said Fang.

So far this season, Blades stars Wong, Lisowsky, Sidorov, Tanner Molendyk, Ethan Chadwick and Conner Roulette have been featured in Fang’s art pieces.

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