It wasn’t the typical lunchtime floor hockey game for the Teslin students in the Yukon.
They were playing with some new competition – Indigenous hockey players who once played in the National Hockey League.
Like John Chabot, Arron Asham, Laurie Boschman and others.
There was eight players in total, including heavyweight Jason Simon.
The former enforcer with the New York Islanders remembered words his grandfather once told him.
“Jason, remember this: that your Native and you’ll always have one strike against you,” recalled Simon.
Simon has put the gloves down and found a new passion as a motivational speaker.
“My peers would bully me and say ‘Jason you’re never going to make the NHL, who do you think you are? Have a toke, have a beer’ and I said no this is my dream and I will play in the NHL,” he said.
Like the students in the classroom many of the players come from small Indigenous communities.
Grade 9 student Tristan Kremer is too young to remember any of the players but their message of fighting for what you believe in hit home.
“Just basically get a mindset and keep your mind to it and hopefully get there,” said Kremer.