Oilers defenceman Ethan Bear will honour his Indigenous heritage tonight in the first NHL game since the pandemic.
During tonight’s Battle of Alberta exhibition game (Oilers vs Flames at 8:30 pm MT on Sportsnet), Bear’s jersey name will be displayed in Cree syllabics.
“It will be an honour to wear this jersey tonight,” said Bear.
“I feel like I will be wearing it for all those Indigenous players who came before me and those Indigenous kids dreaming of playing in the NHL.”
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Bear, who is from Ochapowace Nation in southern Saskatchewan, was praised by Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild for the decision.
“In our culture, we have a naming ceremony on which we rely for self-identity and positive self-esteem. It took us many years at the United Nations to secure the right to use our writing system Cree syllabics and to use our language for our own names for communities, places and persons,” said Chief Littlechild.
“This is significant and people everywhere will be reminded when they see the syllabics on Ethan’s jersey to have courage, be confident and be brave.”