August 17, 2009

Musqueam design on Team Canada jerseys

New Olympic hockey jerseys feature First Nation designTeam Canada's new Olympic hockey jerseys feature the design work of Musqueam artist Debra Sparrow. Team Canada's new Olympic hockey jerseys feature the design work of Musqueam artist Debra Sparrow. (Hockey Canada)

The new Team Canada ice hockey jerseys featuring a West Coast First Nations design and a familiar swoosh were unveiled in Vancouver on Monday.

The jersey's design was a collaboration between Musqueam artist Debra Sparrow and Nike, the new official supplier of high performance sportswear for the 2010 Winter Games.

The jerseys feature a large maple leaf crest in the centre on either a red or white background. Inside the crest are smaller maple leaves representing the gold medal counts for Canada's men's, women's and ice sledge hockey teams, and a nod to the traditional Team Canada image of a hockey player and stick.

But the design also includes a thunderbird and an eagle—two powerful First Nations symbols—supporting and protecting the central maple leaf. A small Nike swoosh appears above and to the left of the maple leaf.

The jerseys will be worn by the men's, women's and sledge hockey teams representing Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in February and March in Vancouver, but will go on sale Monday for $135.

The previous Team Canada jerseys were rejected by the International Committee because they featured the logo of the Hockey Canada organization.
Native artist Debra Sparrow designs jersey

By Katie Rook"The center is an eagle and a thunderbird. The eagle is significant to all people: First Nations, non-First Nations.

"The eagle is an amazing spirit that represents not only freedom, but the strength to sore as high as you can go," she said.

A thunderbird is also included within the new logo and is considered the Keeper of the Skies, she said.

"He's responsible for the weather. In our myths he brings the thunder and the lightening."

Sparrow's intention was also to show those watching the Games that Canadian athletes are connected to a strong heritage.

"I honour all of those competitors who are coming here so that they know that there is a foundation here that is strong; that we stand on it," she said.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Native Participation in 2010 Olympics.

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