They were of all ages, various races and from all different walks of life, but the several hundred people that showed up at SaskTel Centre Wednesday morning were all there to pay homage to the late Fred Sasakamoose as a bronze statue in his honour was unveiled.
The statue, which depicts a 19-year-old in full hockey equipment – a full head dress instead of a helmet – represents his making the move from the Moose Jaw Canucks’ junior team to the N-H-L’s Chicago Blackhawks. From the Ahtahkakoop First Nation, Sasakamoose was the first indigenous hockey player to suit up in the N-H-L in 1953. He is considered an indigenous sports hero, not just in Saskatchewan, but throughout North America.
His statue is located at the north end of the main doors leading into SaskTel Centre, across the way from the Gordie Howe statue at the south end.
Fred Sasakamoose’s son, Neil, estimates that about 40 family members out of the 164 still living were in attendance Wednesday. There were dignitaries from First Nations peoples from across the continent, as well as from all three levels of government in attendance plus officials and representatives from various organizations and corporations. Many of those, including Stanley Cup champion players Glenn “Chico” Resch and Gary Peters, showed up to take in the ceremony and honour the man who had touched their lives, either in person or symbolically.
(CJWW | Photo: CJWW)