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Sudbury’s Ontario Hockey League squad to host Indigenous celebration game

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Sudbury Wolves’ players Ethan Larmand (left) and David Goyette model the jerseys the club will wear Friday during its Indigenous celebration game. – Photo courtesy of Sudbury Wolves

By Sam Laskaris

SUDBURY – The Sudbury Wolves, members of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), will be doing their part towards reconciliation by staging an Indigenous celebration game this Friday.

The Windsor Spitfires will provide the opposition for the Jan. 27 contest, which will be held at the Sudbury Community Arena. The opening face-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

The Indigenous celebration contest is a joint initiative between the Wolves and the Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre (SKHC).

The Sudbury-based centre has a mission to provide balanced and healthy lifestyles through holistic and culturally-based health services to Indigenous people in the city and surrounding First Nations.

Angela Recollect, the CEO of the SKHC, is thrilled her centre has teamed up with the local OHL franchise.

“The Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre in our commitment in demonstrating the resiliency of the Original Peoples of Turtle Island is extremely honoured to partner with the Sudbury Wolves organization,” she said. “With our collective efforts to reconciliation, we celebrate the resiliency of the people, the partnerships, and the reciprocal respect of what organizations coming together looks like. We acknowledge all of those that have come before us, all of those that have yet to come, and all of those that stand present with us in our duty to celebrate the differences and similarities amongst all peoples for our future generations.”

Wolves’ owner Dario Zulich said the local health centre has been a great partner for the franchise.

“Over 24,000 Indigenous peoples reside in the Greater Sudbury and Manitoulin areas, and it is very important for our teams to be part of their culture and that we use our platforms for reconciliation and reclamation,” Zulich added.

Besides the Wolves, Zulich heads up SW Sports and Entertainment, which also includes the Sudbury Five, a pro squad that competes in the National Basketball League of Canada, and the Sudbury Spartans, members of the amateur Northern Football Conference.

Raven Debassige, a local Indigenous artist, helped design the Indigenous jerseys the Wolves will wear during Friday’s game. SKCH’s creative director Melanie Laquerre also assisted with the jersey design.

“I just wanted to translate something that would encapsulate both the Wolves, but also that Indigenous pride and reconciliation,” Debassige said. “Sort of meshing it together. I feel accomplished and very honoured to be able to create this design.”

Members of the public will be able to purchase the game-worn jerseys that the Sudbury players will don in Friday’s outing via auction. The public auction, which will go live on Friday, can be viewed here: https://web.dashapp.io/event/63c834ff91a69b6b2b1dd873

The opening bid is $250 per jersey. Proceeds from the auction will go to support Indigenous youth in sport and mental wellness programming. The auction will continue Monday, Jan. 30 at 8 p.m.

Wolves’ T-shirts, with the same Indigenous logo as the players’ jerseys, will also be on sale at Friday’s game. A portion of those sales will also be donated.

Debassige and Laquerre will be joined on ice by a pair of local Indigenous youth for the ceremonial puck drop prior to the match.

Tickets for the match are available at www.greatersudburytickets.ca as well as at the arena box office.

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