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Hockey A People's History






Pub Date: 
Publisher:  McClelland & Stewart
Summary: In the Cariboo country of British Columbia, another young man had fallen in love with the sport, too, and while the Alkali Lake Ranch where he worked was relatively insulated from the hardships of the Depression, Alec Antoine was both a cowboy and an Indian, and as such, knew all about deprivation. Whenever Antoine's Alkali Lake hockey team made the twelve-hour sled journey in sub-zero temperatures into the town of W...illiams Lake, fifty-six kilometres away, to play hockey against white teams, their welcome was even colder than the weather. The Alkali Lake team, who were all members of the Shuswap nation, were barred from staying in a hotel, or eating in a restaurant, by the colour barrier. So, after watering their horses at the creek, they would make their way up a hill to the outdoor rink on Third Avenue, where they shovelled snow to clear a place to pitch their tents, build a fire, cook a supper of deer meat and boiled potatoes, and then sleep next to the campfire for warmth. The next day they would suit up in their much-patched green and white uniforms, a gift from the Woodward Department Store owner, who was married to the daughter of the Alkali Lake rancher, and they would play hockey so beautifully that it moved a young English immigrant, Hilary Place, to write about them. "The Indians loved the game. It gave them an opportunity to prove they were the best at a highly demanding sport. But winning the game was not the only thing that counted. For them, the sheer joy of the contest of skills was important: a quick turn around the opposing player; skating, turning, stickhandling, all the skills that made hockey the fastest, toughest, and most elegant game ever devised by man were their delight. They played the game not only with grace and power and skill, but with their souls as well." The Alkali Lake Braves, led by the stocky, powerful Antoine at centre, were such a fine, clean team that they won the Northern B.C. amateur league title in 193031. At a time when aboriginal children were being forcibly removed from their homes and placed into white-run residential schools, the Braves received an invitation to come, of their own free will, to Vancouver, where their hockey success had been noted by Andy Paull, chief of the Squamish nation. Paull arranged for them to play two matches against a team of all-stars selected from the semi-professional Commercial League (the Commercks). For Paull, the game was about much more than hockey, as he was also president of the North American Indian Brotherhood the first effort to group aboriginals into a political force. The Brotherhood had organized the tournament to get a little good ink for the Alkali Lake Braves, and in so doing, to get a little good ink for all aboriginals. It wasn't quite the same as Joe Boyle's Dawson City Nuggets heading to Ottawa to prospect for Stanley Cup silver, but the curiosity in Vancouver was high, stoked by a little good-natured taunting from Chief Paull, reported in theVancouver Sun. "Squamish Indians are making preparations for the entertainment of the boys from the frigid Cariboo and will house them at the North Shore reservation," the newspaper read on January 9, 1932. "'It will be the Indians' night to howl, we hope' said Andy 'and we of the Squamish will have a 40-piece band at the game. We hope to play our boys off the ice to the strains of "See the Conquering Heroes."' One of the Alkali players is 50, and a grandfather. Yet, Mr. Paul [sic] says he has the meticulous word of Harry Taylor, Northern Indian agent, that it takes a darn fast skater to even catch pieces of this hardy ancient of the north as he flits hither and yon on the steel blades." The Braves, who played on average only eight games per season on outdoor rinks, found themsel

McKinley, Michael is the author of Hockey A People's History, published 2006 under ISBN 9780771057694 and 0771057695. Four Hockey A People's History textbooks are available for sale on ValoreBooks.com, three used from the cheapest price of $1.15, or buy new starting at $88.40.
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Hockey A People's History

ISBN-13: 9780771057694

ISBN: 0771057695

Pub Date:
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
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