APTN National News
Artifacts from a hockey team in Manitoba made up of residential school survivors are on the way to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
The team was formed in 1978 by Walter and Verna Fontaine.
It started out as a way for their community to heal from the aftermath of residential schools.
“They wanted to do something for themselves and the community they came from,” said Darlene Ahmo, Fontaine’s daughter. “And it just makes me feel so proud.”
The team went on to compete nationally and internationally.
In 1983 they had their biggest year when they won gold in their division at the world cup in Munich, Germany.
“It was quite an experience because most of our people had never been overseas,” said Theodore Fontaine. “It was eye-opening to see that the rest of the world that weren’t any special as compared to us.”
Ahmo got word the museum would be going ahead with the exhibit in July.
It will feature two jerseys, two hats, a collection of pins and a special family heirloom, a bell.
“That was the main item that they asked for because that bell travelled with my mom all over Europe and Canada when they played,” said Ahmo.
“And she would ring the bell because she was very proud of her team.”
The rest of the pieces will be archived.
As Theodore Fontaine prepares to say good-bye to a little bit of history he reminices on what the team meant for him.
“I don’t think I’d be alive now if I didn’t have the healing power, the reconciliation power of what it did to go sit with Rocket Richard in a banquet, go and sit with Tretiak from the Russian team,” said Theodore.
The process started after Fontaine spoke at a Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearing in 2014.
A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame approached him and was impressed with the story.
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