The VICE Guide to Right Now

Indigenous Girl to Miss First Season for Refusing to Wear ‘Discriminatory’ Hockey Jersey

The Calgary association says it’s the first complaint it's received about its “warrior” logo.

by Allison Tierney
Sep 5 2017, 4:27pm

Images via Wikimedia; Northwest Warriors logo

An Indigenous seven-year-old Calgary girl has refused to wear a "discriminatory" hockey jersey featuring a stereotypical "warrior" and, as a result, will miss her first first season of hockey.

The logo the child refuses to don is that of Calgary's Northwest Warriors hockey association, featuring a First Nations "warrior" with feathers and war paint on—very similar to the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks. Due to zoning restrictions, the girl won't be able to play on another team.

The girl's mother gave Postmedia an interview about her daughter's decision, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fears of repercussions for her children.

"A shirt is supposed to represent unity between people," the mother told Postmedia. "My daughter is all about culture and bringing people together with arts and sports. So being told to wear this or sit on the bench—you have to be kidding, right?"

The mother said the family tried to submit a petition for two of their children, including the girl who refused to wear the offensive jersey and her five-year-old brother, to play for another team but were rejected due to their address.

The Northwest Warriors is a product of two merged teams, Crowchild Blackhawks and Westwood Warriors, the former of which the logo originally came from.

"The warrior is a revered figure in the First Nations heritage, so that's the perspective we took in bringing our new name to the forefront," Bryan Boechler, president of the Crowchild association, told Postmedia.

Team emblems, according to Hockey Calgary, are up to individual associations.

Boechler said the complaint about the logo is a first for the Crowchild association. He also said they went through consultations with Indigenous people when the emblem first came into use. Currently, they do not plan to change it.

"The reality is we're a member organization, so should there be direction from our membership or concern that we're somehow doing something negative… We would consider it," he said.