HALIFAX — The World Junior Hockey Championship showcased beautiful artwork created by four artists from the Maritimes who were selected by Hockey Canada to paint hockey sticks for the event.
All four artists were chosen for several reasons including their connection to hockey.
For Lorne Julien, Mi’kmaq, it was his great-grandfather Joseph Julien, a former chief of Milbrook, who carved hockey sticks known as “Mic-Mac” sticks. And the opportunity to have his unique artwork viewed by millions and provided to players at the World Juniors was one artist Julien couldn’t pass up.
The member of the Milbrook First Nation in Nova Scotia was chosen to design a one-of-a-kind hockey stick along with three others; New Brunswick artists Emma Hassencahl-Perley, Robin Jipjaweg Paul and Natalie Sappier (Samaqani Cocahq).
Each artist was tasked with creating their own design for their sticks. Julien put about 100 hours of work into painting his design, which features a double-curve motif with an eagle in flight. Julien explained that the eagle is representative of love and protection, which are principles of the Seven Sacred Teachings.
His design also features an orange heart in honour of the suspected unmarked graves at former residential schools.
This year’s annual international tournament for under-20 hockey teams was held in Halifax and Moncton. It wrapped up Thursday night with Canada winning the gold medal game against Czechia 3-2.
It was noted that Hockey Canada and Mawi’Art: Wabanaki Artist Collective partnered to find artists from the host provinces as a way to showcase local In-digenous talent. Hockey sticks are customarily presented at the end of every game when one player from each team is named player of the game.