Hockey sticks and ball caps aren’t unusual in Timmins – although rather rare in the City Hall council chamber.

Mayor George Pirie explained at this week’s council meeting that the stick and hat leaning against his desk are personally autographed by Fred Sasakamoose .  From Saskatchewan, Sasakamoose was one of the first indigenous players in the NHL, playing eleven games for Chicago in 1953-54. He died last month of COVID-19 at the age of 86.

The mayor met Sasakamoose last year in Timmins, at the Mushkegowuk Cup indigenous hockey tournament.

“You like the individual right off the bat,” Pirie remembers. “He’s a warm kind individual. Lots of great, really good stories.”

Sasakamoose spent ten years in an Indian residential school. Pirie is a promoter of indigenous history and making more Canadians aware of the atrocities at residential schools.

He hopes to find a permanent exhibition space in Timmins for the hockey stick and Blackhawks cap.