Indigenous

Young Algonquin hockey player hopes to motivate others to stay active through his videos

Washiiyeh Jeannotte, a member of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake in Quebec, has racked up a lot of social media views for his hockey videos, and hopes to inspire others to stay active.

Washiiyeh Jeannotte shows his love for the game on social media

Washiiyeh Jeannotte, a member of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake in Quebec, makes videos showcasing his hockey skills. (Submitted by Andrew Jeannotte)

Ten-year-old Washiiyeh Jeannotte is so passionate about playing hockey that he used to sleep in his skates the night before games. 

The videos that Washiiyeh, a member of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake about 300 kilometres northwest of Montreal, shares of his hockey skills are popular and he recently posted one showing him jumping out of bed with skates on, heading swiftly to his outdoor rink to make a tricked-out goal. 

Jeannotte's dad Andrew said getting views on social media is great, but keeping up the motivation for Washiiyeh and others to stay active is the most important goal for them.

"We're in a generation where everybody's playing video games or inside their house all the time," he said.

"Just showing what we do hopefully inspires people to get outside and do some physical activity ... just get out and explore." 

The Jeannotte family made a backyard rink to keep practising during the pandemic. (Submitted by Andrew Jeannotte)

Andrew said Washiiyeh hasn't worn his skates to sleep for a couple of years, but thought the video would be a fun way to show how much he's invested in hockey. 

"I just want to keep them in tune, and want them to love the game," Andrew said about Washiiyeh and his older brother.

"That's the most important part of team sport and hockey."

Andrew also said staying active as a family is important for keeping children motivated. He said the whole family plays hockey, which is how Washiiyeh picked it up. 

John Chabot, a former NHL player from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg in Quebec, is the CEO and founder of First Assist, a non-profit organization that helps Indigenous youth with on-site education and sports integration programs. 

John Chabot is a former NHL player from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg.  (Submitted by John Chabot)

Chabot has worked with the Jeannotte family and said they are an example of what his program aims to do. 

"What Wash has done, and his parents in supporting him, they've done a great job," he said.

"He gets out and he's active, he keeps himself healthy and moves. I think that should be an important part of everybody's lifestyle, not just First Nations kids, but kids in general." 

Wanda Thusky grew up with Washiiyeh's mom in the Barriere Lake community. (Submitted by Wanda Thusky)

Washiiyeh's love of hockey has also been recognized by his home community. 

Family friend Wanda Thusky said Washiiyeh has become a skilled hockey player who has captured people's attention and brings people together. 

"It's been very beautiful to watch and inspiring. I think, for everybody," she said.

She said her nephews play alongside Washiiyeh, and that it's nice to see their development within the sport. 

Washiiyeh will be heading back to practice with his AA atoms team on Wednesday, after pandemic restrictions ease in the province. His dad said Washiiyeh is excited to get back to seeing his teammates on the ice.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Renée Lilley

Reporter, CBC Indigenous

Renée Lilley is a reporter for CBC Indigenous based in Winnipeg. She is a recipient of the CJF-CBC Indigenous Journalism Fellowship for 2022 and is a recent University of Winnipeg grad with a BA in rhetoric and communications. She has reported for radio and online news in her hometown of Portage la Prairie, Man. She is also a proud Métis mama of four girls.

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