ANAHEIM – Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf recall the euphoria of hoisting the Stanley Cup almost 10 years ago when both were young newbies with the Anaheim Ducks.
Fast forward to this past weekend when both veterans played important roles in the Ducks’ 5-2 win over the mighty Washington Capitals. Perry had two goals and an assist, while Getzlaf added a goal and two assists.
This season it’s 22-year-old Six Nations star, Brandon Montour who is just getting himself oriented to the NHL in a year where he will most certainly see NHL Stanley Cup Playoff action for the first time.
As a defenseman, his name may not be said as much as some others on this strong roster, but Montour is quietly finding himself a permanent spot on the Ducks’ blueline.
His name is mentioned quite often by sports commentators who are beginning to notice his all-out, every shift style, his cannon of a shot and mobility to allow him to get in on offensive rushes from time to time and sill have the gas to get back in time.
Before last Sunday’s win, the Ducks honoured its Stanley Cup winning Team from 10 years ago. Montour had opportunity to see the likes of Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger and Teemu Selanne, in person. Hopefully 10 years from now some other young up-and-coming First Nations player will be just as honoured to meet him.
There are others Indigenous NHL players who are at different milestones the same journey Montour is only beginning to embark upon.
Rene Bourque (Metis) plays with the Colorado Avalanche; Micheal Ferland (Cree) with the Calgary Flames; Vern Fiddler (Metis) of the New Jersey Devils; Dwight King (Metis) of the Los Angeles Kings; Jordan Nolan (Ojibwe) of the Los Angeles Kings; T.J. Oshie (Ojibwe) of the Washington Capitals; Carey Price (Ulkatcho First Nation) of the Montreal Canadiens and Jordin Tootoo (Inuk) of the Chicago Blackhawks.
All have followed the path blazed by Fred Sasakamoose who broke into the NHL with the 1953 to 1954 Chicago Blackhawks. Sasakamoose is signing autographs and talking to a new generation of future First Nations Stars at the ‘lil NHL, in Mississauga this past week.