If you look back at the history of hockey, the Mi’kmaw are known for creating the first batch of flat-bladed hockey sticks.
Europeans witnessed them playing hockey in the late 1700s on the frozen lakes of Dartmouth, N.S.
The Mi’kmaw became master carvers of the hockey stick.
Now there’s a push to get the Mi’kmaw contribution to hockey placed in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Mark Grant, an avid hockey fan in Vancouver, B.C., wrote to the hall saying, in part, the Mi’kmaw nation should be considered, “for the purpose of creating a special place for the Mi’kmaq owing to the exceptional nature of this indigenous group’s contributions to the birth and early evolution of ice hockey.”
Grant tells APTN News that it’s about time.
“I hope people will say ‘way to go buddy, that’s really cool because you know I’ve learned your story in ice hockey and way to go,’” says Grant who is not Mi’kmaw.
Grant submitted a nomination bid that includes the Mi’kmaw contribution to the birth and evolution of hockey.
Anyone can submit a nomination but Grant is the first to put one in for Mi’kmaw contributions to the sport.
It’s something that’s long overdue if you ask Cheryl Maloney of Sipkne’katik First Nation.
“We were more than just crafters of the hockey stick, that we inspired this game and it’s evolved with Canadians and the Mi’kmaw, the Mi’kmaw people,” she says.
Maloney and her sister created a documentary on the Mi’kmaw roots of hockey.
Her grandfather and Elder Joe Cope wrote in the Halifax Herald in 1943, “the honour and credit wholly belongs to the Micmac Indians of this country, for, long before the pale faces strayed to this country, the Micmacs were playing two ball games-a-field and ice game.”
Maloney says the recognition is for future generations so Mi’kmaw children know, “We invented this game, this is our game, you deserve to be here, you belong here, and I think for Indigenous children, that’s something that we always don’t know, our kids are made to feel like we don’t belong,” she says.
The nomination deadline is March 15 – the Inductees are expected to be announced, June 2022.