Skip to main content

Hitmen hockey game to honour Siksika elder Margaret Bad Boy

When the puck drops for the Calgary Hitmen on Feb. 4, the game will carry a meaning that reaches far beyond sport.

The third annual Every Child Matters game will tell the story of Siksika elder Margaret Bad Boy, a woman who had no children of her own but is credited with helping raise more than 100 Blackfoot children.

Players will wear specially designed jerseys and a series of special elements will be rolled out over the course of the game.

Lucille Wright still calls Bad Boy her grandmother, a mark of respect for the woman's guiding hand over the years.

Wright says remembering the horrors of residential schools is important, but there is so much more to be shared.

"So much is focused on the abuse, but what about the powerful stories such as hers, bringing them home?" Wright says.

Bad Boy died in 2001 at the age of 101, yet many in the community still speak of her in the present.

"When I would come home from school at times and try to speak to her in English, she would kind of scold me for that. ‘You're a Blackfoot. You hold on to your tongue. You share it with your children, your sisters and brothers,’" said Allison Red Crow.

He says he spent countless evenings sitting with her, drinking tea and marvelling at the complexity of her use of the Blackfoot language.

She was a rare person. The daughter of a chief, she managed to avoid being sent to residential school like so many of her peers. That allowed her to keep her language and religion, which informed the values she passed on to others in the community.

The team says the annual game has become just one piece of a growing relationship with Siksika in particular – a part of the team's identity.

"We are doing all of these things to, I think, "Indigenize" perhaps the game and also have an impact with the players and management," said Tyler White, CEO of Siksika Health Services, which is sponsoring the event.

Hitmen vice-president Mike Moore says the partnership has helped every member of the organization grow.

"I credit Tyler and his team for being teachers of that culture and learning," Moore said.

"For our players … we are sending them out the door when they graduate or when we send them to another team (and) they now become voices for us."

If there is one thing Red Crow wants people to take away from Bad Boy's life and example, it's this:

"Her love. Her share of love for people." Top Stories

Here is Canada's unseasonably mild December forecast

December is predicted to be unseasonably mild across Canada, thanks to a "moderate-to-strong" El Nino and human-caused warming. Warming and precipitation trends will be stronger in some parts of the country than others, and severe weather is still possible, meteorologists say.

Stay Connected