When the Campbell River Storm skate out onto the ice on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation they will be wearing their support for this important day on their backs.
The VIJHL team has commissioned local First Nation artist Jessica Chickite to design the logo for an orange-based third jersey for the team which they will debut on Friday, Sept. 30 in a game versus the Nanaimo Clippers.
“More important than anything else, we just want to acknowledge the importance of the day,” said Sean Estabrook, co-owner of the team with Linda Lahtinen.
With both owners of the team being First Nation themselves, they felt the Storm’s high profile in the community was an opportunity to show support for the truth and reconciliation message. Estabrook came on as a part-owner of the team in April and this idea was something the ownership started talking about almost immediately, he said.
The jerseys came about through the sponsorship of another First Nation-owned business, Troy Young and ROGA Group.
“He’s a First Nations business owner also,” Estabrook said, “so it’s a collaborative effort.”
The team reached out to Chickite to create the artwork.
“Linda (Lahtinen) and I went back and forth with her (Chickite) and a couple of ideas until something stuck,” Estabrook said.
The jerseys are orange, reflecting the orange-shirt symbolism used to remember the residential school experience of First Nations people as well as truth and reconciliation awareness created by National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
The Campbell River Storm have a lengthy history of First Nation alumni and that tradition is carried on with current players Wyatt Dumont and Brady Estabrook, Storm General Manager and head coach Lee Stone said. Dumont is a proud member of the Métis Nation of B.C. and North Island while Estabrook is a proud member of the Sechelt First Nation and has close ties to the local We Wai Kai First Nation.
“Both players are playing in honour of their family members that are survivors of residential schools and colonization,” Stone said.
The Campbell River Storm will wear the jerseys in Friday’s game versus Nanaimo which starts at 7:30 p.m. at Rod Brind’Amour Arena.