The Chilliwack Chiefs have added a third jersey to their on-ice wardrobe as they prepare for the upcoming RBC Cup in May.
The jersey features the work of Jason Roberts, a local artist from the Tzeachten First Nation within the Stó:lo territory.
The jersey will be worn in Chilliwack’s final round-robin game to be played May 17 at Prospera Centre. Following the game, all of the game-worn jerseys will be auctioned by the players to fans in attendance, with all proceeds going to the RBC Cup Legacy Fund to be created for the community of Chilliwack.
Roberts, whose traditional name is Sxwoxil, is a self-taught artist in the west coast Salish art style.
“The centre crest,” explained Roberts, “is a version of a carved mask of a chief designed with our Stó:lo territory style of West Coast Salish art. When our people wear masks for traditional ceremonies they become the spirit of whatever version mask they wear.”
He said his goal was to portray leadership and strength.
“In this case I wanted the mask to be representative of a chief,” Roberts explained. “A chief carries many responsibilities and traits. Some important ones would be respect, strength and leadership.
“So as players use this mask and represent their community they can remember to carry themselves with respect, strength and leadership, to name a few.”
Roberts also designed the jersey’s maple leaf shoulder crest. The idea was to blend reconciliation with the commemoration of Canada’s 150th anniversary. “My thought process behind the collaboration between the maple leaf and our aboriginal art was remembrance and reconciliation,” he said. “To have Canada remember the First Nation people that originated from the land before Canada became Canada 150 years ago. If the design was to be appreciated with this type of remembrance then the path to reconciliation could continue to grow for our future generations.”
Chief David Jimmie, who is co-chair of the RBC Cup Chilliwack host committee, Chief of Squiala First Nation, president of the Stó:lo Nation Chiefs Council and the Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe, said he is pleased to see the host Chilliwack Chiefs wearing the special third Jersey.
“The third jersey is a wonderful example of what is possible when organizations are open minded and work together. To some, this may seem insignificant but to me, it speaks volumes of the Chilliwack Chiefs organization and their willingness to build stronger relationships in the community,” he said.
“I have a deep appreciation for Jason Roberts spending the time to develop a beautiful design that is meaningful to both our culture, and the Chilliwack Chiefs organization,” he added. “My hands go up to Coach Jason Tatarnic for providing this wonderful opportunity to showcase a local artist and honour the traditional name Ts’elxwéyeqw which is where the name Chilliwack comes from.”
The Chilliwack Chiefs third jersey is sponsored by Hampton Inn by Hilton.