First Nations professional hockey player shares stories of trauma and triumph
© Cole Carruthers
First Nations professional hockey player Fred Sasakamoose discussing trauma and triumph in his life at Timothy Eaton Gardens.
A gamut of emotion was shared Wednesday night at Timothy Eaton Gardens during ‘A Night to Remember with Fred Sasakamoose.’
Councillor Don Mitchell played host to an intimate discussion with the barrier breaking First Nations professional hockey player.
Adversity, pain, triumph and joy were all shared during the discussion of Sasakamoose’s harrowing life.
“You came from a family in northern Saskatchewan, and you’ve used the description of the good, the bad and the ugly, can you talk about that?” Mitchell asked.
“When I was six-years-old an RCMP truck pulled in with kids crying and they picked up me and my brother away with force,” Sasakamoose explained about the beginning of his residential school trauma. “I had beautiful braids behind me –– they cut them off, we lost everything –– our language, identity.”
The former Chicago Blackhawks player was candid on the abuse he and his siblings faced in the residential school system.
“It’s hard to talk about this. My mom and dad were forbidden to come visit ... I was sexually abused there twice. I wanted revenge –– I saw my brother being sexually abused, I didn’t want to die without leaving something behind me,” Sasakamoose said.
He said he made up his mind when he was 12-years-old he wasn’t dead and would be somebody.
“It took me five years to own my own skates,” Sasakamoose said on the hard knock road to the NHL. “With training, there was no choice –– you’re told what to do –– I was told my left side was stronger than my right, I had to train to shoot left. I became a left shooter and still am to this day.”
He discussed the heartache of being away from family while pursuing his hockey career and what his time in Moose Jaw and life with former general manager George Vogan meant to him.
For more on this story pick up the next issue of the Times-Herald.