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Golden Knights' Whitecloud on Indigenous background, support from tribe

AP Photo/John Locher

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud (2) plays against the Los Angeles Kings in an NHL hockey game Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, in Las Vegas.

Originally aired 8/22/2022


Like a lot of professional hockey players, Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud fell in love with the game as a child, playing at outdoor rinks with his friends in Manitoba.  

But Whitecloud’s journey isn’t typical.

As one of the few Indigenous players in the NHL, Whitecloud belongs to a small group of athletes representing tribal communities. 

Indigenous Affairs reporter Miles Brady spoke to Whitecloud about how the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation supported the success that lead him to the professional level and what he sees for the future of hockey. 

Although he grew up in nearby Canada, the community he was born in continued to support him.

"That's where I always try to remind myself to make sure that I keep those fundamentals in my back pocket and, remember those every day," he said. "The community of Sioux Valley really helped my family and myself, and they're still helping families today to get them through sports and hockey, and those sorts of things with a little less financial burden. Having that sense of community where you knew they had your back and want to make sure that you were able to go and do the things, if you wanted to go, you were able to go. That was hugely important, not only for myself, but for my family, as well."

Zach Whitecloud, defenceman, Vegas Golden Knights

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(Editor's note: Miles is no longer a member of our staff, but you can still enjoy their contributions here.)