International Hockey

Sticks celebrate Indigenous art

2022 23 njt indigeous stick lorne julian 01 wjc

A quartet of Indigenous artists from Atlantic Canada have designed unique sticks for Player of the Game presentations during the World Juniors

At the end of every game at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship in
Halifax and Moncton, one player from each team will be named Player of the
Game and given a hockey stick.

But not just any ordinary stick.

The sticks handed out over the course of 31 games will feature artwork
designed by one of four highly respected Indigenous artists from Atlantic
Canada — Emma Hassencahl-Perley, Lorne Julien, Robin Jipjaweg Paul and
Natalie Sappier (Samaqani Cocahq).

“I think at a time where we have felt so separated from one another, it’s
really going to really bring some unity and it is needed in a time like
this and sports have a way of doing that, bringing people together and
creating memories,” says Sappier. “It also makes me proud to have our
artists be represented because there are so many stories that come from
this part of the world that not too many people know about.”

Hockey Canada partnered with Mawi’Art: Wabanaki Artist Collective, an
organization that focuses on developing and promoting Indigenous artists in
Atlantic Canada, which was tasked with selecting the artists.

“Our whole goal is to sort of celebrate and elevate Wabanaki art or the
Indigenous art of Atlantic Canada and this is a fantastic opportunity to do
that,” says Shawn Dalton, executive director of Mawi’Art. “It’s such a
high-profile event and we were quite excited.”

In September, Mawi’Art put out a call asking interested artists to submit
their designs.

“When the post came up by Mawi’Art, I just got excited. I was like ‘That
would be so cool,’ and I just jumped on it. I just did and I don’t do that
often because a lot of cool things come out and I am like ‘Oh, that’s
cool,’ but there’s something about this that triggered home,” says Sappier.

Originally, the intention was to have two artists, but Mawi’Art opted for
go with four designs. The winning artists were chosen based on various
factors that included their connection to the game of hockey.

“All of them have these amazing stories to tell about their own personal
connections to hockey, like Emma Hassencahl-Perley has been playing hockey
since she was a little kid … to Lorne Julien whose family produced hockey
sticks on a massive scale and shipped them all over North America. It was
just such a nice opportunity for them to really…

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