The U17AA Leaside Flames warmed up in Orange Jerseys tonight at their last regular season game. The Flames wore Orange Jerseys to honour the Indigenous children who were victims and survivors of residential schools. The #OrangeJerseyProject also aims to build awareness and education amongst the athletes and those watching in the stands. The simple question of “Why are they wearing orange jerseys?” has the power to open a discussion about the history of the Indian Residential School System. The Orange Jersey Project isn’t just about educating about our past, but also about celebrating Indigenous athletes. The project was made possible, in part, through the auctioning of jerseys signed by Indigenous hockey players, names such as Reggie Leach, Carey Price, Ethan Bear, and many more. Each jersey has a QR code that is linked to an online education platform with modules on the history of residential schools and what we can all do to be part of reconciliation.
This isn’t the first time this team has been involved in reconciliation efforts. In 2019 they visited Wikimekwong First Nation, bringing hockey gear to the youth, running a mini hockey school, and playing a friendly game at the local arena. The most impactful portion of the trip was learning the history and participating in a mini cultural learning session.
Visit the Orange Jersey Project website, www.orangejerseyproject.ca to register your youth hockey team and request orange practice jerseys and the curriculum program for your team, at no cost.
Together we can help our young athletes and their fans actively participate in reconciliation.