Hockey players Brigette Lacquette, Jocelyne Larocque bring home Olympic silver medal
Indigenous athletes help Team Canada win silver medal in women's hockey
Indigenous athletes Brigette Lacquette and Jocelyne Larocque will bring home silver medals in women's hockey, after Team Canada's 3-2 shootout loss to the United States at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
It was a bittersweet medal for Canada, who were toppled as the reigning champions for the first time since the U.S. last won a gold medal in 1998. There was barely a dry eye among the Canadian players as they lined up to receive their silver medals.
Jocelyne Larocque, who is of Métis heritage, knows what a gold medal feels like because she played for Canada at the Sochi Olympics. Visibly upset at the medal ceremony, the Canadian defenceman took off her medal almost as soon as it was placed around her neck.
"It's just hard," Larocque said.
"We're going for gold and I'm proud of this whole team, but we were chasing that gold medal, and ... yeah."
Some on social media have called out Larocque for what they see as unsportsmanlike behaviour, but Lacquette came to her defence.
"I think it was just the heat of the moment. No one likes losing," she said.
"I love Jocelyn, she's a fantastic person and someone I looked up to — no, actually, still look up to. She's an outstanding person."
When how asked how she felt about her own Olympic debut, Lacquette was similarly subdued and sighed before answering.
"It was obviously not the result we hoped for," she said.
"But that's going to drive us. I've always hated losing and this one stung. But we're going to work that much harder next time."
Support from the Indigenous community
But to many watching back in Canada, the silver medal meant so much more than that loss. It was a chance to see not one, but two Indigenous athletes play at an elite level of sport.
Watch for jersey numbers 3 (Larocque) and 4 (Lacquette) in the highlights from Pyeongchang.
Lacquette, who played defence on the women's hockey team, is the 1st First Nations woman to make the team and win an Olympic hockey medal.
It was a long, hard road to the Canadian Olympic hockey team for the 25-year-old, who is a member of Cote First Nation in Saskatchewan and grew up in Mallard, Man. She showed hockey talent at a young age but faced adversity and sometimes racist taunts while playing in Manitoba, such as "dirty Indian."
WOW! That was freakin’ amazing! 🇨🇦 What a time! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OpeningCeremonies?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#OpeningCeremonies</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Pyeonchang2018?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Pyeonchang2018</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TeamCanada?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TeamCanada</a> <a href="https://t.co/rd7GQGwZd6">pic.twitter.com/rd7GQGwZd6</a>—@briglacquette
"I've had a lot of fun here. It's such an honour to represent First Nations people and I'm super proud of what I've done," she said.
"I feel like I've opened a lot of doors, especially for the little girls watching back home. It doesn't matter where you come from, you can always achieve your dream."
Seeing her compete in Pyeonchang has brought in support from other Indigenous athletes and the community.
<a href="https://twitter.com/briglacquette?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@briglacquette</a> very proud of you as I watched you early this morning. You make us all very proud to be Aboriginal ! Native Pride. Keep doing your thing. Bring home the GOLD !@TeamCanada—@Jtootoo22
Thanks, that means a lot! You’re a big inspiration for me! You opened a lot of doors with your journey & for that I'm grateful! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TootooTrain?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TootooTrain</a> <a href="https://t.co/cVcCMwlPMd">https://t.co/cVcCMwlPMd</a>—@briglacquette
<a href="https://twitter.com/briglacquette?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@briglacquette</a> you have done so much more than a gold medal can bring, the pride of a nation, BOTH indigenous and non. My 15 year old Dene girl wants to be like you....Mahsi cho sistah!—@TimOLoan
regardless of what colour medal your bringing home .. you jus inspired young indigenous girls across the nation to achieve their dreams in Women’s Hockey . Way to go ! We’re all proud , doesn’t matter where you come from !!! 🇨🇦🏒👏🏽 <a href="https://twitter.com/briglacquette?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@briglacquette</a>—@Npk87Nyc
<a href="https://twitter.com/briglacquette?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@briglacquette</a> Congrats on a Silver Medal ,I know it's not what you ladies wanted but you made <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CanadaProud?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CanadaProud</a>🇨🇦 and I am sure made First Nation Proud .Stick it out young lady , not only a great player but a role model ,4 years I hope (and expect) to see you get revenge .Thank You—@rcinto
Lacquette said she's grateful for the support although it's been a challenge to see the silver medal as a win at this moment.
"It's very comforting to know I have so much support behind me," she said.
with files from Canadian Press