Maple Leafs to honour indigenous people during Nov. 1 game
NHL's 1st indigenous player, Canadian musician Gord Downie to be recognized
The Toronto Maple Leafs will recognize victims of residential schools as well as missing and murdered indigenous women at Tuesday's game against the Edmonton Oilers.
A pre-game video will feature Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie's recent live performance of Secret Path and highlighting the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund, which has been created to support reconciliation across Canada.
Secret Path tells the story of Chanie Wenjack, the 12-year-old Ojibwa boy who ran away from his residential school in 1966 and died six days later on the side of the tracks trying to get home.
During intermission, Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler will appear at ice level, accompanied by Fred Sasakamoose, the NHL's first indigenous hockey player, as well as Josee Lusignan, president of I Love First Peoples.
"As a non-indigenous Canadian, I want to see more Canadians involved in reconciliation," Lusignan said in a statement. "In light of the massive impact Gord is having on our nation, we have an opportunity to bring reconciliation into every home in Canada and honour indigenous people in a way that is unprecedented. Our organization brings forth ideas and projects that make it easy to get involved."
The Leafs' initiative, also backed by the MLSE Foundation, comes as pressure mounts for teams like the Cleveland Indians and Edmonton Eskimos to change their names and mascots.
The Winnipeg Jets are believed to be the first NHL team to acknowledge that they play on Treaty 1 land via a pre-game announcement.