First Indigenous woman to vie for Olympic Hockey

MANITOBA – Brigette Lacquette, 24, a defenseman with beginnings in the small community of Mallard, is now vying to secure a position on the defensive end of the Canadian Women’s Hockey Team set to head to the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea in 2018.

“It’s something that I’ve worked my whole life for,” said Lacquette in an interview with CBC. “It’s honestly pretty amazing and you know I’m just trying to focus at the task at hand and practise hard day in and day out.”

More than a century ago the first recorded women’s hockey game took place in 1892 in Barrie, Canada, according to the Canadian Hockey Association. However, many of the frustrations that her predecessors that played in the male-dominated sport faced, Lacquette has overcome and more as an indigenous player.

And when asked about who she looked up to in the sport, she mentioned a familiar face to the NLL.

“When I started to really watch hockey it was really like Jodan Tootoo when he played in the World Juniors, he was kind of someone that I looked up to,” she said. “I just remember watching him and being like ‘wow that’s super cool,’ and him being the first Inuit to play on Team Canada was pretty amazing.”

However, her role has since become that of Tootoo’s as she has become a female role model and athlete herself.

“[Being a role model is] still in the back of my mind when I do these camps or go and speak at these reserves,” she said. “Growing up in Mallard it was kind of like I never really thought I would end up playing on Team Canada one day, or you know, even make it as far as I did.”

Her hometown is a small Metis community “in the middle of nowhere” roughly three hours outside of Winnipeg, and her father would make the hour drive to practice twice a week when she began playing.

“When hockey was starting to get more serious it moved to four hours a week,” she said.

And as part of her own dedication, Lacquette explained that her parents played one of the biggest roles in her centralization.

“Because they were the ones who took the time to take me to practice and made it possible for me to continue playing after I fell in love with the game,” she said in an interview with Jason La Rose. “

“It has been my dream to play on Team Canada for quite some time.”

Her own goal to become a part of Team Canada “sunk in” back in 2008 when she was first invited to a U18 camp where her and her team took silver medals. She has also noted that her participation in the sport has given her friendships around the world.

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