MacLean says this show is a huge step forward for hockey and the country.
Ron MacLean says this weekend’s Hometown Hockey broadcast in Enoch Cree Nation will be the most important broadcast in the five-year history of the show.
“Rogers Hometown Hockey reflects Canadians to one another. That’s the Indigenous person, the French Canadian, etcetera. Since truth and reconciliation, we’ve all acknowledged the past and wanted to take steps. This is just a moment, but one moment where we can take a really positive step,” he said.
This weekend’s festivities aim to focus on Indigenous stories and figures. It will mark the first time Hometown Hockey has been hosted in a First Nations community. Sportsnet partnering with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) will also yield the first-ever NHL game to be televised with play-by-play commentary in Plains Cree language.
“The broken treaties, they’ve made reparations there. The power, influence, legitimacy, centrality — all these words of our First Nations [peoples] have been happening, and I’m really grateful that it’s going to happen on a hockey telecast,” he said.
MacLean says this weekend is just part of creating better representation for all minorities in the hockey community.
He lists the National Hockey League’s recent creation of the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award and players like Jarome Iginla and Evander Kane as great ambassadors for black hockey players.
He also named transgender players like Harrison Browne and Jessica Platt as positive representatives of the sport.
“[These players] are a great representation of ‘you can be what you see’. As long as you see one of your own playing the game, that’s a great thing,” he said.
He says he’s proud of Hometown Hockey and how it brings Canadians together.
“Generally it’s the arts that have told us how to live; whether it’s painting, poetry, music, or dance — it’s great that we use sport too — it brings us together,” he said.
Sunday’s broadcast in Enoch Cree Nation will feature a game between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Montreal Canadiens.
This is the second last show of the season, as the fifth year of Hometown Hockey wraps up in Saskatoon next week.