“The contribution they have made as craftsmen alone is nothing short of epic, and it needs to be brought to the Canadian public’s attention,” says Grant, who indulges a passion for hockey history on top of his job as an industrial equipment coordinator.
In an interview with Global News, Grant said his eyes were opened after watching a documentary called The Game of Hockey — A Mi’kmaw Story. Compiling both written and oral history, the documentary highlights popular hockey sticks, made by Mi’kmaq craftsmen from tree branches in the 1800s. The “Micmac Hockey Stick” helped popularize the game.
The documentary also references wooden pucks that pre-date the National Hockey League, but at one inch thick and three inches wide, were the same size as those currently in use in the NHL.
“I would love to see the Hockey Hall of Fame induct the Mi’kmaq First Nation, or create a special place for them within the hall as a permanent exhibit.”
New Mi’kmaq Exhibit at Popular Halifax Museum
For the documentary’s co-director, Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq activist Cheryl Maloney, wider recognition makes perfect sense. “I think the roots of the game are Mi’kmaq roots. And how funny is that, with the roots of trees?”
Maloney said recognition by the Hall of Fame would be a win for Canadian hockey history.
“I think this would be a really important move for Canada and the game of hockey to bring back those stories and recognize that this history was lost to Canadians, not just the Mi’kmaq, but Canadians.”
Grant’s submission can be seen at hockey-stars.ca.
The Hall of Fame currently includes a diversity exhibit. Spokesperson, Kelly Masse, said it also has a virtual education program with the Northern School Board of Ontario, which highlights the Indigenous contribution. But, there’s no specific mention of the Mi’kmaq contribution in developing the game.
Submissions that are supported and eventually approved by the hall’s selection committee, are announced in June.
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