Sudbury Wolves unveil Indigenous jerseys ahead of next home game

Players with the Sudbury Wolves will hit the ice Friday with new jerseys that reflect the region’s Indigenous people and culture.

The OHL team will auction off the jerseys after the game to raise funds for Indigenous youth in sport

A dark hockey jersey with a wolf's head as the logo.
The Sudbury Wolves unveiled a new jersey on Tuesday that is inspired by the region's Indigenous people and culture. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

Sudbury Wolves players will hit the ice Friday with new jerseys that reflect the region's Indigenous people and culture.

The Ontario Hockey League (OHL) team will host the Windsor Spitfires for a home game meant to celebrate Indigenous people and their resilience.

Artist Raven Debassige helped create the new design, and said her brother, who identifies with the wolf, inspired her work on the jersey.

A young woman with glasses and long earrings in an Indigenous style.
Artist Raven Debassige says she was honoured to help design a jersey for the Wolves that uses Indigenous elements. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

"I was daunted, but I am also very honoured and very proud to be a part of this," Debassige said.

The new design draws from the woodland style made famous by Indigenous artist Norval Morrisseau, and includes the Grandmother Moon, which represents female energy, opposite the wolf's male energy.

"It's a personal thing to me," said Wolves owner Dario Zulich.

"I have a lot of respect for Indigenous and the first peoples of this great country, and I just want to show my respect and my appreciation."

Zulich said he plans to make the Indigenous night a yearly event, and hopes the team can be a model for the Canadian Hockey League.

After the game, the jerseys will be sold in an online auction, and the proceeds will go to support a new fund for Indigenous youth in sport and mental wellness.

A man in a white shirt standing at a podium.
Wolves owner Dario Zulich says he hopes his team can be an example for the Canadian Hockey League with plans for an annual night honouring Indigenous people. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

The Wolves partnered with the Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre, an Indigenous health centre in Sudbury, to set up the fund and help design the new jerseys.

Angela Recollet, the centre's E-niigaanzid, or CEO, said she hopes the jerseys encourage fans to learn more about reconciliation.

"I think the message is just recognizing that the original peoples of Turtle Island have always been here," Recollet said.

"People are really trying to understand how do they reconcile. But you can't reconcile if you don't know the truth. And so this gives people an opportunity to have that courage and safe space to get educated."

Wolves forward Ethan Larmand said he likes the new jerseys and what they represent.

"I think it's awesome," he said. 

"There's a lot of Indigenous people around Sudbury, so it means a lot to wear this and share the experience with the city."

With files from Kate Rutherford