New Brunswick

Ted Nolan tells hockey conference of his experiences in white man's game

Former NHL coach Ted Nolan spoke of what it was like being a First Nations hockey player in predominantly white leagues at a hockey conference at the University of New Brunswick on Wednesday.

Dozens of hockey experts from around the world attending 2-day conference

Ted Nolan talks about his experiences as a First Nations hockey player in predominately white leagues. (CBC)

Former NHL coach Ted Nolan spoke of what it was like being a First Nations hockey player in predominantly white leagues at a hockey conference at the University of New Brunswick on Wednesday.

"As much as I grew up loving the game on the flip side of it you almost disliked it because of the way you got treated, and you had to develop a tough shell," said Nolan, who was a keynote speaker at the two-day gathering of hockey researchers and participants from around the world.

"For every player like myself who managed to fight through it, there's thousands and thousands of kids that don't."

Ted Nolan coached the Moncton Wildcats to a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League championship and will be attending The Hockey Conference. (CBC)
Nolan's connection to the province extends past his coaching career. His wife Sandra is from St. Mary's First  Nation, and his sister-in-law is St. Mary's Chief Candice Paul.

"It's great to be back...we try to come back at least once a year," said Nolan.

Nolan coaches the Moncton Wildcats to a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League championship in 2005-06.

Some other familiar names from New Brunswick's and Fredericton's hockey are at The Hockey Conference.

Mike Johnston, who coached the UNB hockey team from 1989 to 1994, is another keynote speaker.

Former Pittsburgh head coach Mike Johnston, who coached at UNB in the 1990s, will be a keynote speaker at The Hockey Conference at UNB on Wednesday and Thursday. (Gene J. Puskar/The Associated Press)
Johnson also coached in the Hockey Canada program and for 10 years in the NHL, including his most recent stint as head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Another familiar name for the Fredericton hockey crowd attending is Luc Gauthier, who played for the Fredericton Canadians of the American Hockey League from 1990 through 1993. Gauthier is now an NHL scout.

More than 50 researchers and practitioners from around the world will discuss hockey topics such as gender, nationalism, analytics and the body, as well as other topics.

"This conference brings together the best and brightest in the world of hockey," said conference organizer Jonathon Edwards.

Participants will also take part in a game of sledge hockey.

"We're attempting to make The Hockey Conference accessible to all, not just academics," said Edwards.

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