Sasakamoose kicks down the door in ‘54

MISSISSAUGA ­– Mainstream hockey fans of today may not have heard of Fred Saskamoose, but you can bet most indigenous hockey players and fans coming to participate in this year’s 2018 edition of the Lil NHL have.

Sasakamoose was born in 1933, at Ahtahkakoop First Nation, Saskatchewan. His grit and determination made a way for him to become the first Indigenous player in the NHL, when he signed with the Chicago Blackhawks and took the ice at Maple Leaf Gardens against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Friday, February 27th, 1954.

That was in the days of the six-team league which altogether employed only about 125 players and the competition for those jobs was fierce.

Although he did not stay up with the Black Hawks for long, 11 games, Sasakamoose did play and officially became the first of his people to break that ground. Since then there has been many others follow;

Current NHL rosters:

Rene Bourque (Metis) – Colorado Avalanche

Micheal Ferland (Cree) – Calgary Flames

Vern Fiddler (Metis) – New Jersey Devils

Dwight King (Metis) – Los Angeles Kings

Brandon Montour (Six Nations) — Anaheim Ducks

Jordan Nolan (Ojibwe) – Los Angeles Kings

T.J. Oshie (Ojibwe) – Washington Capitals

Carey Price (Ulkatcho First Nation) – Montreal Canadiens

Jordin Tootoo (Inuk) – Chicago Blackhawks


Past NHL’ers

Arron Asham (Metis)

Blair Atcheynum (Cree)

George Armstrong (Ojibway)

Craig Berube

Henry Boucha

Chris Brant

John Chabot

Jonathan Cheechoo (Cree)

Dan Cloutier

Shane Corson

Kimbi Daniels

Scott Daniels

Ron Delorme (Metis)

Chad Denny (Mi’kmaq)

Gerald Diduck

Scott Ferguson

Theo Fleury (Metis)

Dan Frawley (Ojibwa)

Grant Fuhr

Stu Grimson

Ted Hodgeson (Cree)

Stan Jonathan (Mohawk)

D.J. King (Metis)

Wayne King (Ojibwa)

Denny Lambert (Ojibwa)

Reggie Leach (Ojibwa – Berens River First Nation)

Norm Maracle

Sandy McCarthy (Mi’kmaq)

Cody McCormick (Ojibwe)

Dale McCourt

Jamie McLennan

Vic Mercredi

Brants Myhers (Frog Lake First Nations)

Ric Nattress

Jim Neilson

Ted Nolan (Ojibwa)

Gino Odjick (Algonkin)

Mike Peluso

Rich Pilon

Rudy Poeschek

Wade Redden

Jamie Rivers

Everett Sanipass (Micmac)

Gary Sargent

Fred Sasakamoose (Sandy Lake Cree)

Chris Simon (Ojibwa)

Bobby Simpson (Mohawk)

Sheldon Souray

Frank St. Marseille (Metis – Ojibwa)

Bryan Trottier (Metis)

Darcy Tucker

Dennis Vial

Dody Wood

Harry York (Cree)

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