A goalie from Canoe Lake Cree First Nation in Saskatchewan is playing for Team Canada in the International University Sports Federation winter games this week in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Roddy Ross has been playing as a goalie since he was six years old.
“It means a lot, it’s a huge opportunity and I’m very grateful to be chosen and selected to represent Canada,” he said.
Ross said the games are going well and the Canadian team finished first in their pool. He said he is preparing for the semi-finals Saturday and, hopefully, the finals on Sunday.
The goalie, who also plays for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, said he is proud to be from Canoe Lake, 350 kilometres north of Saskatoon.
“It’s something that I always try to show off as much as I can,” he said.
“I’m very proud of who I am and it means a lot to me to be First Nations and be able to show that you can push those boundaries.”
Canoe Lake Chief Francis Iron said the community is proud of Ross and all that he has accomplished.
“We’ve watched that kid grow in the past how many years and to see him wearing that maple leaf on his sweater is a very proud moment for us way down in the north.”
Canoe Lake Cree First Nation’s welcome sign has an addition that reads “Home of Roddy Ross” with a picture of Ross and his draft pick number from when he was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2019.
“To watch that kid go through the system that he went through, the struggles that he faced as an Aboriginal kid, to see him get to that national stage level — as a chief and on behalf of the community, we’re extremely proud.
“He is an exceptional player, one of the best. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was going to be suiting up in the NHL in the near future.”
Ross, who is currently a free agent, said he would not have been able to get to where he is without the support of his family, friends and community.
“That’s what keeps me going,” he said.
“[The support] shows me I need to keep going and playing for them.”