A member of Canada’s silver medal-winning women’s hockey team is now on an Olympic-sized mission.
Brigette Lacquette — the first Indigenous woman to play for Team Canada — is taking her story to First Nations kids across the country, including a visit to the Siksika First Nation southeast of Calgary on Friday.
On Thursday, she greeted her fans at the Piikani Secondary School near Pincher Creek, Alta.
Lacquette made history as the first female First Nations player on Canada’s Olympic hockey team — and now she wants other kids to dream big.
“I had always admired the ladies on the women’s national team, but I never really had someone who had the same kind of background as me or went through the same thing,” she said.
“I feel like my story is relatable to a lot of First Nations girls across Canada and to be able to share my story is very important.”
Lacquette said growing up, she was bullied on the rink for being Indigenous and wants to inspire other First Nations girls not to give up.
“I tell them it doesn’t matter where you come from because you can always achieve your dreams,” she said. “Give 100 per cent in everything you do. Hard work pays off.”
Nine-year-old Kylee North Peigan proudly wore her Lacquette jersey to meet her hero.
“I was excited to see her because I watched her games and stuff like that,” she said. “She’s a hockey player and I’m a hockey player, and I like getting stuff signed by her. I want to play like her.”
While visiting the school, Lacquette was honoured by a local elder through a traditional naming ceremony, where she received the name Beautiful Brave Eagle.
“I’m extremely honoured, I’ve never experienced anything like that,” she said. “To come to this reserve and be received with open arms, it’s very special and humbling.”
Lacquette spent the afternoon on the local ice rink skating with future Olympic hopefuls, running them through drills, skills and the occasional game of tag.
She is visiting other First Nation schools to tell her story and inspire youth across the country until May.