Mr. Speaker, I was very saddened when told that Frederick Sasakamoose passed away from COVID-19 complications in late November.
Freddy was the NHL's first indigenous player with treaty status. He made his official debut in 1954 with the Chicago Blackhawks. On Hockey Night in Canada, he taught Foster Hewitt how to pronounce his last name.
Sasakamoose played against greats such as Gordie Howe, Jean Beliveau, Maurice Richard, but after 12 games, he realized his heart was not in the NHL but back at Sandy Lake.
Fred's story was far from over following his NHL days. He played another decade in western Canada, he became a band councillor, served as chief and established athletic programs for kids.
As a child, Freddy would play hockey and skated in my hometown of Canwood. In his later life, he played recreational hocky in Canwood. I can still remember watching Freddy skate down the ice, cross the centerline, top the circles, let go of that famous snap-shot and say to myself, “Thank God I'm not the goalie.”
I pass on my condolences to Neil and the entire Sasakamoose family. Freddy was a great man.