Carey Price’s hometown of B.C. joins forces with star Montreal goaltender
MONTREAL – On the first night of the Stanley Cup Final, a convoy of trucks waving Canadiens flags arrived outside the Anahim Lake rink, B.C., where Carey Price was playing hockey when he was a child.
The convoy traveled approximately 60 kilometers, honking and stopping in various Indigenous communities in the area inhabited by the Ulkatcho First Nation.
Lynda Price, Carey’s mother, is Chief of the First Nation. And while the Vancouver Canucks are the closest NHL team some 12 hours away, it’s the Canadians and their star goalie who are celebrated in the community of roughly 1,500.
The convoy was the brainchild of Graham West, who has known Price since he was young. He said the rolling parade will repeat with every game and he expects him to grow taller every time.
“Win or lose, we will,” West said in an interview.
He said Price is a role model for indigenous people across the country and has given the community to rejoice at a time when many mourn the discovery of more than a thousand anonymous graves outside the sites of old boarding schools.
“He’s here on the world stage to represent us with dignity. He’s one of us,” West said.
West said Price’s helmet featured the Ulkatcho logo, which includes two feathers and a sacred mountain.
“He never forgot us,” West said.
West said Price joined other members of the community on a walk up this mountain two years ago, which included a traditional tobacco offering.
He described the goalkeeper as a humble man who gives back to the school and the community where he grew up.
Mikisiw Awashish, an Innu hockey player with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, said Price is an inspiration to young hockey players because of his performances on and off the ice.
VISIT TO THE SURVIVORS OF PENSIONERS
He said Price went to greet residential school survivors in Winnipeg during the team series against the Jets last month.
“He’s one of the busiest athletes in the world, but he took the time to make a detour, on foot, just before a game to be close to his community, it’s remarkable,” said Awashish.
He also admires Price’s unruffled demeanor on the ice and wonders if his legacy could be part of it.
“Indigenous peoples, we are generally calm, but above all very resilient,” he said.
“Resilience is a quality that grows with obstacles, and maybe its calm comes from there.”
West came to a similar conclusion. He said the people of Lake Anahim are trappers and herders, and both are skills that require patience.
“There’s no way to rush you out there,” he said, adding that Price had good teachers in his family.
In a social media post last year, Price described his maternal grandmother as a residential school survivor who faced “social injustice” at school.
“The abuse and displacement of First Nations people in America and Canada has echoed generations of poverty and addiction. These facts also need to be brought to light,” the post read.
“I firmly believe in the victory of good over evil and change will come. In our house we will not see the color of your skin but the character of your heart.”