Wednesday, December 12, 2018
The Alkali Lake Braves played in the BC Northern Hockey League in the early 1930’s. The Braves were comprised entirely of Indigenous players, many of whom learned to play at residential schools, where hockey was played as a way to assimilate them to European-Canadian culture.
The team travelled by a horse drawn wagon to their games, played on rinks with snow banks in the place of boards. The Braves fantastic play in the Northern League, drew the attention of a semi-professional team in Vancouver. The Braves travelled south to play the Vancouver Commercials in a highly publicized two (2) game series. Many thought the Braves would be embarrassed by the professionals, especially since the Braves had little or no experience with proper boards lining the ice surface. The Braves, although losing both games, stunned the hockey world, losing 2-1 and 1-0, and were praised for their skillful and clean play. One (1) member of the Braves, Alex Antione, was even offered a contract by the New York Rangers, which he declined.
The Vancouver Giants honoured the Alkali Lake Braves by wearing a special Braves jersey during their first home game of the 2013-2014 season.