Historic broadcast: Believed to be first NHL game in Plains Cree language

EDMONTON — History could be made later this month with the broadcast of what’s believed to be the first NHL game called in the Plains Cree language.

The game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Carolina Hurricanes is to air on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network on March 24.

APTN will use Sportsnet’s production capabilities to air the program featuring Cree commentary and analysis.

Sportsnet vice president Rob Corte called it a “momentous broadcast.”

“We are truly honoured to have the opportunity to work with APTN to celebrate Canada’s Indigenous communities and the shared passion for hockey that unites us all,” Corte said in a news release.

The broadcast will come on the same weekend that the Rogers Hometown Hockey festival stops at the Enoch Cree Nation near Edmonton.

Jean Le Rose, chief executive of APTN, said it’s a great combination.

“We hope it will be the opportunity for us to get into a conversation about maybe having a weekly game in the language … and possibly more opportunities for other languages,” he said in an interview.

It also coincides with UNESCO’s declaration of 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages, Le Rose added.

“We feel the timing was absolutely perfect to highlight at least one language,” he said.

David Proper, executive vice president of media and international strategy with the NHL, said the partnership between Sportsnet and APTN will serve Canada’s Indigenous communities and all hockey fans across the country.

Saskatchewan broadcaster Clarence Iron will do the play by play, while musician Earl Wood will host the studio show alongside game analyst and NHL alumni John Chabot.

Iron, who lives in Pinehouse, Sask., and works for CFNK radio as a program host, has become known as one of the Cree voices of hockey because of his experience calling Indigenous hockey tournaments and local games.

Drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in 1980, Chabot spent eight seasons in the NHL and played more than 500 games with Montreal, Pittsburgh and Detroit. He went on to coach in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League before spending two seasons as an assistant coach for the New York Islanders. He has also worked as a studio analyst for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games with APTN and as a coach on APTN’s hockey series, Hit the Ice.

Woods comes from Saddle Lake, Alta. and is one of the original founders of the Northern Cree Singers, which is referred by some as the “Indigenous Rolling Stones.”

The Cree-language commentary and analysis will be produced at APTN’s studio in Winnipeg with a live Sportsnet feed of the game.

Although it’s believed to be the first NHL game called in Plains Cree, it’s not the first time games have been broadcast in another language.

Sportsnet contributes to the national production of Hockey Night in Canada: Punjabi Edition.

Its sister station, OMNI Television, also offers a wide range of programming in more than 20 languages including news, current affairs and entertainment shows.

Just Posted

WATCH: UCP leader Jason Kenney makes stop in Red Deer

A rally was held in the north end of the city Saturday afternoon

Good-bye ice and snow, hello potholes on Red Deer roads

City workers will be spending 20 hours a day on various road repairs

Fog advisory in effect for Red Deer, central Alberta

Heavy fog is affecting visibility for central Alberta drivers Saturday morning. A… Continue reading

Climate change’s impact on outdoor hockey discussed in Red Deer

Red Deer River Watershed Alliance held a forum Friday at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame

Collision between Red Deer transit bus and truck investigated by RCMP

No one on bus was hurt, truck driver had minor injuries

WATCH: Fashion show highlights Cree designers

The fashion show was part of a Samson Cree Nation conference on MMIW

Montreal priest stabbed during mass leaves hospital; suspect to be charged

MONTREAL — A Catholic priest who was stabbed as he was celebrating… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $35.7 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $35.7 million jackpot… Continue reading

New report details impact of proposed NS spaceport in event of explosion or fire

HALIFAX — The head of a company proposing to open Canada’s only… Continue reading

Quebec man convicted in Mafia-linked conspiracy deported to Italy

MONTREAL — Michele Torre, a Quebec man convicted in 1996 for his… Continue reading

Republican Karl Rove says conservatives need more than simplistic slogans

OTTAWA — Legendary Republican campaign strategist Karl Rove, known for his no-holds-barred… Continue reading

B.C. hospital’s use as shelter ‘clarion call’ about housing crisis, says mayor

The 10-bed regional hospital that serves the medical needs of 5,000 people… Continue reading

Puddle splashing: A rite of spring

Is there anything more fun than driving through water-filled potholes in the… Continue reading

Special evaluations can help seniors cope with cancer care

Before she could start breast cancer treatment, Nancy Simpson had to walk… Continue reading

Most Read