Edmonton Oilers prospect Ethan Bear was honoured at the Assembly of First Nations’ annual general meeting.
He’s one of the first athletes to be recognized.
Hailing from the Ochapowace First Nation near Broadview, Sask., he was bestowed with a blanket and acknowledged for his hockey success.
“It is pretty honouring to get a blanket and be here and talk in front of them. It is pretty cool and special, this doesn’t happen every day,” Bear said.
Being Indigenous, Bear recognizes the role model he has become and what his accomplishments mean for people.
“To see the tremendous amount of support I’m getting, not just from my family and community but other First Nations communities across the country, it is a big deal,” Bear said. “I work hard and it is not easy, to be who I am and where I got, is pretty special for myself and my family.”
Never straying far from home, Bear returns to Ochapowace every summer to see people and hang out with friends.
The 20-year-old was named the WHL’s top defenceman this past season, where he played with the title-winning Seattle Thunderbirds.