Skip to content

Hockey camp aims to inspire, bring out Indigenous youths' potential

'That’s one of our missions: to expose talent and get them in contact with higher elite leagues or college leagues,' says the non-profit's co-founder

A Kashechewan First Nation member hopes to inspire and empower Indigenous youth through a recently launched hockey camp.

Stephane Friday is the co-founder of the non-profit Hockey Indigenous. Friday co-founded the organization with Abigail Linklater, who's from Taykwa Tagamou Nation.

The organization’s Hockey Indigenous Development Camp later this year will be open to First Nation, Métis and Inuit youth from seven to 15 years old.

The program will boost the youth’s self-esteem, inspire and motivate them, Friday said. Coming from a First Nation community himself, he’s seen a lot of talented Indigenous youth.

“Most of the time, they’re discriminated when they go to tryouts and hockey cups in non-Indigenous communities and non-Indigenous hockey teams. Half the time they’re shy as well,” he said. “I see so much potential … Part of our program is hoping to inspire them so much to the point they get on to high elite teams or at least tryout city hockey leagues.”

The bookings for the camps will open in November.

The camps will take place between three to five days, depending on the community’s needs. The program will be open to First Nation and Inuit communities, Métis settlements and urban centres across Canada.

Participants will be divided into three age groups.

In a typical three-day camp, the first two days will be dedicated to sessions where youth will have comprehensive training on skating and leadership skills.

On the third day, there will be scrimmages followed by a roundtable discussion and supper.

The organization's ambassadors, who are experienced Indigenous hockey players, will be facilitating the camp. The ambassadors are Owen Headrick, Brooke Stacey, Damien Ketlo and Jana Headrick.

“They’re bringing tons of experience from junior hockey leagues, professional hockey leagues and from university,” Friday said. “Our ambassadors will share their experience, give (the participants) some motivational messages to boost their self-esteem.”

Funding for the camps will be sourced from the communities, Friday said.

“It will be a collaboration process. A band office or house services can collaborate to host these camps,” he said.

Hockey Indigenous Inc. was launched in 2020. Before it became a non-profit, Friday ran it as a social media blog under a different name.

For the past several years, the non-profit has promoted over 200 Indigenous youth across Canada. Thanks to those promotions, some of the players got recruited into higher leagues, Friday said.

“That’s one of our missions: to expose talent and get them in contact with higher elite leagues or college leagues,” he said.

For more information about Hockey Indigenous, click here.

Dariya Baiguzhiyeva

About the Author: Dariya Baiguzhiyeva

Dariya Baiguzhiyeva is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering diversity issues for TimminsToday. The LJI is funded by the Government of Canada
Read more

Reader Feedback