WHL Raises Over $20,000 In Support Of Orange Jersey Project
Calgary, Alta. – The Western Hockey League announced today that over $20,000 has been raised in support of the Orange Jersey Project as part of a broader partnership with the Orange Shirt Society.
During the month of February, 11 WHL Clubs participated in the Orange Jersey Project. Participating WHL Clubs sported special-edition orange jerseys, complete with the WHL Truth and Reconciliation logo, during warmup of regular season games during the month of February. Jerseys were auctioned off at the conclusion of the campaign with $22,500 in net proceeds from the WHL Orange Jersey auction donated back to the Orange Jersey Project. These funds will be directed towards providing 1,000 jerseys for minor hockey teams.
“The Orange Jersey Project is designed to encourage action for truth and reconciliation and can help educate athletes about the true history of the Indian residential school system in Canada,” said Jeremy Boston, Program Manager for the Orange Jersey Project, and Phyllis Webstad, Founder of Orange Shirt Day and the Orange Shirt Society. “The Orange Jersey Project works to create awareness of the intergenerational impacts of Indian residential schools.
“With the support from the Western Hockey League (WHL), together we can initiate conversation to overcome the barriers between Indigenous and non-Indigenous, as we continue to educate and learn together on our path for truth and reconciliation. Together we can work together with the concept Every Child Matters.”
Established in 2022, the Orange Jersey Project strives to use the power of sport to serve as a vehicle toward educating today’s young athletes about the history of the Indian Residential School System, and to strengthen the path toward truth and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.
In addition to WHL Clubs sporting Orange Jersey Project warmup jerseys, fans were able to purchase limited-edition WHL Truth and Reconciliation orange t-shirts for $20 each by visiting their favourite team store in select WHL markets. Net proceeds from t-shirt sales were also donated back to the Orange Shirt Society.
“Thanks to our partnership with the Orange Shirt Society, the WHL is pleased to have generated this additional support for the Orange Jersey Project,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “With orange jerseys visible in WHL communities this past season, WHL Clubs helped encourage Canadians to have important conversations about the history of the residential school system. The WHL looks forward to building upon this partnership with the Orange Shirt Society and continuing to actively participate in the act of reconciliation.”
By supporting the Orange Jersey Project, the WHL and its participating Clubs will promote physical and mental wellness of Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth through sport while contributing to a conversation that has the power to change how Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities live together.
Support of the Orange Jersey Project is part of a larger commitment by the WHL to truth and reconciliation in Canada. In September 2022, the WHL announced a partnership with the Orange Shirt Society, driven by a desire to contribute to the goals of the Orange Shirt Society:
- Supporting Indian Residential School Reconciliation;
- Creating awareness of the individual, family, and community intergenerational impacts of the Indian Residential Schools through Orange Shirt Society activities, and;
- Creating awareness of the concept of “Every Child Matters.”
To help provide people with an understanding of the various traditional territories of Indigenous people in western Canada, the WHL has worked with the Orange Shirt Society and Orange Jersey Project to launch an informative webpage, which includes a map of western Canada complete with the borders of the traditional lands of Indigenous peoples and the locations of WHL Clubs, relative to these traditional lands.
One of the first steps Canadians can take on the journey towards reconciliation is to educate themselves by reading the 94 Calls to Action identified by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Since the closure of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has confirmed over 4,100 individuals were lost to the Indian Residential School system.
SUPPORT: If you are a Survivor of or family member impacted by the residential school system and need emotional support, a national crisis line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Residential School Survivor Support Line: 1-866-925-4419
About the Orange Shirt Society
The Orange Shirt Society was formed in Williams Lake by the founders of Orange Shirt Day to encourage and support communities to recognize Orange Shirt Day and to support reconciliation events and activities. Our goal is to create awareness of the individual, family, and community intergenerational impacts of Indian Residential Schools through Orange Shirt Day activities, and to promote the concept of “Every Child Matters.”
About the Western Hockey League
Regarded as the world’s finest development league for junior hockey players, the Western Hockey League (WHL) head office is based in Calgary, Alberta. The WHL consists of 22 member Clubs with 17 located in Western Canada and five in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. A member of the Canadian Hockey League, the WHL has been a leading supplier of talent for the National Hockey League for over 50 years. The WHL is also the leading provider of hockey scholarships with over 375 graduates each year receiving WHL Scholarships to pursue a post-secondary education of their choice. Each season, WHL players also form the nucleus of Canada’s National Junior Hockey Team.