ethan bear cree jersey

Oilers player Ethan Bear will honour his Cree heritage with new jersey

NHL player Ethan Bear will honour his Indigenous heritage with a new jersey that displays his name in Cree syllabics, and he plans to debut it during tonight's Battle of Alberta exhibition game.

The Edmonton Oilers defenceman, who grew up in Ochapowace Nation in southern Saskatchewan, said that he will be donning the jersey proudly on behalf of all Indigenous hockey players.

"It will be an honour to wear this jersey tonight," Bear said, per an NHL blog post. "I feel like I will be wearing it for all those Indigenous players who came before me and those Indigenous kids dreaming of playing in the NHL."

The 23-year-old hockey player has received widespread praise for his decision, with Canadians across the country calling the new jersey a "class act" and "a beauty."

Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild also praised Bear, the Oilers and the NHL for the unprecedented gesture.

"As the International Chief for Treaties 6, 7 and 8, and a member of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, I cannot express my gratitude enough to the Edmonton Oilers and the National Hockey League for this most positive act of Reconciliation," Chief Littlechild said, per the NHL website.

"Ethan brings all of us great pride with his strength and natural ability to overcome challenges. This is significant and people everywhere will be reminded when they see the syllabics on Ethan's jersey to have courage, be confident and be brave."

The Edmonton Oilers have also come out with a new jersey in honour of player Kailer Yamamoto's Japanese background; his jersey reads "Base of the mountain" in Japanese characters. 

Lead photo by

Edmonton Oilers

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