Exploring hockey's roots in Indigenous communities

This week on Unreserved, we explore what hockey means to Indigenous people, and how that connection is about more than just sports.
Two young hockey players face off in the Indigenous Minor Hockey Tournament in Winnipeg. This week, Unreserved looks at hockey's deep roots in Indigenous communities. (Holly Caruk/CBC)

This week on Unreserved, we explore what hockey means to Indigenous people, and how that connection is about more than just sports.

In March, Enoch Cree Nation was the first First Nation to host Rogers Hometown Hockey. As the CBC's Kyle Muzyka found out, the weekend was a celebration of Indigenous people and their deep ties to hockey. 

Since they experienced racism at a hockey tournament in Quebec City last May, a lot has happened for the First Nations Elites Bantam AAA team. Coach Tommy Neeposh explains what they faced on the ice, and the drive to move forward.

The girls on the Rez Girls 64 hockey team also experienced racism at a tournament in Thunder Bay. But heading into their third tournament in Kingston, Ont. in March, the squad from Eamametoong First Nation was determined to compete and have fun for the team they fought so hard to build.

Indigenous ties to hockey are evident, but is there a case to be made that the sport is a Mi'kmaw invention? CBC Indigenous reporter Nic Meloney looks into whether hockey's roots were born out of a Mi'kmaw game.

Despite all the additional barriers Indigenous kids face trying to excel in a sport, some still succeed and persevere. Florida Panthers defenceman Brady Keeper and former Linköping HC forward Brooke Stacey talk about their strong ties to their communities — and Keeper reveal how it almost cost him the chance to play professionally.

This week's playlist: 

Riit. (Six Shooter Records)

Jesse Ed Davis — Every Night is Saturday Night
Midnight Shine — Velocity
Riit — Qaumajuapik