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From Indigenous tournaments to the Olympics, it’s all about family

I have a favorite memory of my sister and I at the Tony Cote Winter Games with the Yorkton Tribal Council. My late grandpa, Bill Bryant, took care of us at the tournament, because my parents had to work.  He was always so proud of us, and he loved to watch us play hockey, especially when we were representing our tribal council.  To be honest, we didn’t do all that well that time, but the memory sticks with me.  Grandpa was there watching, spending time with us

A lot of the stickhandling “moves” I picked up were at native tournaments. The games there taught you to play with your head up, and how to pick up the puck with your stick, Lacrosse style. They taught you to be aware at all times.  I learned by watching.  I noticed that the older players often used head fakes, and almost always did evasive moves with the puck. You learned how to sauce a pass through other players.  You saw this all at the tournaments, every single shift.  It’s Rez hockey.

Native hockey is very creative as well. It can look non- structured at times, but it is very rewarding when you find success.  It’s hard to describe – anything goes on the ice. If a move doesn’t work, you try it again until it does.  You’re not afraid to make a mistake.  It’s freeing. I’ve learned many different skills by playing this way, and I credit this type of hockey for how I am on the ice. It has helped me get where I am.

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