Indigenous Ex-NHLer Fred Sasakamoose dead at 86

One of the first Indigenous NHLers, Frederick “Fred” Sasakamoose, has passed away.

He died on Tuesday afternoon at the age of 86 following a battle with the novel coronavirus, according to family.

Read more: Indigenous former NHLer, Fred Sasakamoose, hospitalized with presumed COVID-19

As part of his many contributions to the sport of hockey, he broke the barrier for generations of First Nations players when he made it into the NHL. Sakamoose played 11 games with the Chicago Blackhawks during the 1953-54 season.

Following his time in Chicago, Sasakamoose returned home to the Ahtahkakoop First Nation in Saskatchewan to help give others the same opportunities he received. With no athletic equipment, events or facilities in the area, he worked extensively to build and develop minor hockey and other sports in the community.

In 1962, Sasakamoose focused his efforts on hockey as one of the founding members of the Northern Indian Hockey League. His promotion of the game helped spur the construction of arenas in communities in northern Saskatchewan.

Read more: Edmonton ceremony honours Order of Canada appointment for Fred Sasakamoose, first Indigenous NHL player

More recently, he assisted with the All Nations Hockey School in Saskatoon before establishing the Fred Sasakamoose All Star Hockey Week; a hockey camp that focuses on diversity and integration in addition to hockey skills.

Sasakamoose has been inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame, Saskatchewan First Nations Sports Hall of Fame, Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame, Meadow Lake Wall of Fame, FSIN Circle of Honour and the Canadian Native Hockey Hall of Fame.

More to come…

Click to play video 'Fred Sasakamoose on being appointed to the Order of Canada' 5:08 Fred Sasakamoose on being appointed to the Order of Canada

Fred Sasakamoose on being appointed to the Order of Canada – Dec 30, 2017

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