Fans from coast
to coast to coast will be cheering them on.
Six Indigenous athletes will be among those representing
Canada at this years Winter Olympics.
The opening ceremonies for the Games, being staged in PyeongChang,
South Korea, was staged this morning and a number of events
alpine skiing, biathlon, curling, luge and ski jumping began
their events on Wednesday and Thursday.
Canadas Indigenous contingent includes three hockey players.
Former National Hockey League player Rene Bourque will suit up for
the mens squad. And Brigette Lacquette and Jocelyne Larocque
are both members of the womens side.
The other Indigenous athletes representing Canada in PyeongChang
are curler Kevin Koe, snowboarder Spencer OBrien and cross-country
skier Jesse Cockney.
This years Winter Olympics will continue until Feb. 25.
It remains to be seen if any of Canadas Indigenous athletes
will return home with some hardware, but no doubt both Indigenous
and non-Indigenous fans from coast to coast to coast will be cheering
A closer look at Canadas Indigenous participants follows.
Bourque, a Métis who is from Lac La Biche,
Alta., is benefitting from the fact that current NHL
players are not participating in this years Winter
Olympics. But the 36-year-old forward has plenty of
NHL experience, including last season when he was a
member of the Colorado Avalanche.
Bourque, who will serve as an assistant captain
for the Canadian squad in PyeongChang, has appeared
in a total of 752 NHL contests. Besides Colorado, hes
also toiled for the Chicago Blackhawks, Calgary Flames,
Montreal Canadiens, Anaheim Ducks and Columbus Blue
As for this season, Bourque is playing with Djurgardens,
a Stockholm-based team in Swedens top professional
league. After his first 33 games with Djurgardens, Bourque
was leading the club in goals with 13.
Lacquette, who is from the tiny Manitoba community
of Mallard, is making a bit of history at this years
The 25-year-old, who plays defence, is the first
First Nations player to suit up for the Canadian womens
Olympic hockey team. Lacquettes mother Anita is
a member of Saskatchewans Cote First Nation.
Lacquette, who played her collegiate hockey south
of the border with the University of Minnesota-Duluth,
helped Canada win silver medals at the 2015 and 16
world womens hockey championships.
For portions of the past two seasons shes
also been a member of the Calgary Inferno, a pro squad
that competes in the Canadian Womens Hockey League.
Lacquette and her Inferno teammates captured the CWHL
championship in 2016.
Like Lacquette, Larocque, will also be patrolling
the blueline for the Canadian womens hockey club
in South Korea.
Larocque, a 29-year-old Métis who is from
Ste. Anne, Man., will know what to expect in PyeongChang.
Thats because she was also on the Canadian
squad that captured the gold medal at the 2014 Winter
Olympics, which were staged in Sochi, Russia.
Larocque also has plenty of other international
experience as well. She helped Canada win the world
title in 2012 and has also been a member of five other
Canadian squads that captured silver medals at world
tournaments (2011, 13, 15, 16 and
Larocque also was a member of NCAA championship
teams when she suited up for the University of Minnesota-Duluth
in 2008 and 2010.
Koe, a 43-year-old who was born in Yellowknife,
has been a fixture at Canadian curling events for more
than two decades. But he will be making his Olympic
debut in PyeongChang, where he will skip the Canadian
Koe, whose father is a member of the GwichIn
First Nation in the Northwest Territories, has an impressive
He won the mens world title in 2010 and 2016.
And he also led teams to victory at the Brier, the mens
Canadian championship, in 2010, 14 and 16.
Koe, who now lives in Calgary, represents the Glencoe
Curling Club. In PyeongChang he will be joined by his
teammates, lead Ben Hebert, second Brett Laing and third
OBrien, who was born in Alert Bay, B.C., will
be competing in her second Olympic Games.
OBrien, who has Haida/Kwakwakwwakw heritage,
was considered a medal favourite at the 2014 Sochi Olympics
since she had won a gold medal at the 2013 world snowboarding
championships. But after falling twice during her final
run, OBrien ended up finishing last (12th place)
in her slopestyle competition.
It was only this past year that OBrien revealed
she had been diagnosed with early onset rheumatoid arthritis
mere months before the 2014 Olympics. With medication,
however, OBrien, who is now 30, is able to able
to continue to be a world-class athlete.
Cockney, a 28-year-old Inuit from Yellowknife, will
be making his second Olympic Games appearance.
He participated in three events at the 2014 Olympics.
His best result was helping Canada to an 11th-place
finish in the 4x10-kilometre mens relay.
Cockney, who now lives in Canmore, Alta., is an
Indigenous role model as he mentors Inuit, First Nations
and Métis students through the Classroom Champions
Cockney has been on skis virtually his entire life,
since the age of three. His family moved to Canmore
when he was seven.
At the 2017 world cross-country championships staged
in Lahti, Finland, Cockney placed 47th in his freestyle
sprint race. He also registered a 65th-place finish
in his 15-kilometre freestyle event.