Calgary, Alta. – The Western Hockey League announced today that WHL Clubs in all 17 Canadian markets will join Canadians from coast to coast in recognizing and commemorating the legacy of residential schools in the days following the very first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30.
Throughout Opening Week of the 2021-22 WHL Regular Season, from October 1 to October 10, WHL coaches, training staff, officials, and players will sport orange ribbons and orange “Every Child Matters” helmet decals in honour of those impacted by residential schools. A moment of silence will be held during each WHL home-opening game in Canada, giving pause for reflection on the legacy of the residential school system in Canada. The “Every Child Matters” logo will be visible throughout all 17 WHL venues in Western Canada.
“For over 120 years across Canada, Indigenous children were removed from their homes and forced into residential schools, inflicting deep trauma that continues to hurt generations of people today,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “To take steps on the journey towards Truth and Reconciliation, all Canadians have a responsibility to recognize and commemorate the legacy of the residential school system. The WHL joins all Canadians as we all strive to educate ourselves further and work together towards a better Canada for all.”
SUPPORT: If you are a Survivor of the residential school system and need emotional support, a national crisis line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Residential School Survivor Support Line: 1-866-925-4419
September 30, 2021 serves as the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is key within the reconciliation process.
On June 3, 2021, the Government of Canada created this federal statutory holiday to commemorate the legacy of residential schools. National Day for Truth and Reconciliation honours Call to Action #80 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation represents an opportunity for all Canadians to listen and learn from Indigenous leaders, elders, artists, and knowledge keepers about their perspectives and experiences. All Canadians have a role to play in the experience of reconciliation.
One of the first steps Canadians can take on the journey towards reconciliation is to educate themselves by reading the 94 Calls to Action identified by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Since the close of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has confirmed that 4,117 individuals were lost to the residential school system, including 215 children on the grounds of the former Kamloops Residential Indian School, and 751 individuals, mostly children, on the former site of the Marieval Indian Residential School east of Regina, Sask.
About the Western Hockey League
Regarded as the world’s finest development league for junior hockey players, the Western Hockey League (WHL) head office is based in Calgary, Alberta. The WHL consists of 22 member Clubs with 17 located in Western Canada and five in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. A member of the Canadian Hockey League, the WHL has been a leading supplier of talent for the National Hockey League for over 50 years. The WHL is also the leading provider of hockey scholarships with over 375 graduates each year receiving WHL Scholarships to pursue a post-secondary education of their choice. Each season, WHL players also form the nucleus of Canada’s National Junior Hockey Team.