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Aboriginals represent on Canada’s Olympic teams


By Sam Laskaris Windspeaker Contributor







Updated: Feb 23, 2014

Team Canada's Carey Price defeats the USA and Sweden with shutouts in the last two games to backstop them to gold in Sochi! Congratulations Carey!

Related: NHL's Buffalo Sabres head coach Ted Nolan (from Garden River First Nation) is the head coach of the 2014 Men's Latvian Olympic hocky team.

Latvia has upset the Swiss team to now face Team Canada in the quarter finals on Wednesday, Feb. 19.

Read more: http://www.ammsa.com/publications/alberta-sweetgrass/nhl-first-nations-head-coaches-draw-fan-attention

The Canadian contingent at the Sochi Winter Olympics will include four Native athletes.

Among those that will be looking for some hardware at the Games, which are scheduled for Feb. 7 to Feb. 23 in Russia, will be Carey Price, Jesse Cockney, Caroline Calve and Spencer O’Brien.

Price is probably the most recognizable name to Canadian sporting fans, currently playing for the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League. He is a goaltender on the men’s hockey team.

Cockney is a member of the men’s cross-country skiing team. And Calve and O’Brien are both snowboarders.

A closer look at all four of the Canadian Native Olympians follows.

Carey Price

Price, the star goaltender for the Canadiens, is a member of British Columbia’s Ulkatcho First Nation. In fact, his mother Lynda is a former chief of the First Nation.

Price, 26, was born in Anahim Lake, B.C. He started to make a name for himself while playing for the Western Hockey League’s Tri-City Americans.

His stellar junior play convinced the Canadiens’ brass to select him in the first round, fifth over-all, in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
Price, who is now in his seventh pro season, has participated in three NHL all-star games, in 2009, 2011 and 2012.

As his Olympic team selection would indicate, Price is also having an impressive campaign with the Canadiens this season. He had a 22-16-4 record and a 2.50 goals-against average in his first 42 appearances.

Price will be making his Olympic debut in Sochi. But he previously represented his country in the junior ranks.

He backstopped Canada to a gold medal at the 2007 World Junior Championships. He also won a silver medal at the world under-18 tourney in 2005.

Update: Carey Price has been announced to be the starting goalie for Team
Canada versus USA and Swede. Carey recorded 0 goals against in the two games leading Canada to the gold!

Jesse Cockney
Cockney, 24, is an Inuit from Yellowknife who will also be making his Olympic debut in Sochi.

Though he was born in the Northwest Territories, Cockney now lives in Canmore, Alta.

He is one of 11 members that have been named to the Canadian cross-country skiing team.

It’s only natural that Cockney took to the sport. His father Angus was also an accomplished cross-country skier.

Cockney started skiing at the age of three. He continued with the sport when his family moved to Canmore when he was seven.
Not many insiders of the sport are surprised that Cockney has made it to the Olympic stage.

Many were predicting he’d graduate and star for the national team, especially after he won four medals (three gold, one bronze) at the 2011 Canada Winter Games, which were held in Halifax.

Cockney, a member of the Foothills Nordic Ski Club, is now also in his third season with the Canadian senior team.

Update: Jesse Cockney made his Olympic debut with a 53rd-place result in the men's cross-country freestyle sprint

Jesse and his Canadian teammates finished 12th in the 4X10km relay. While Jesse was disappointed with the results, he stated that he hopes his performance in these games will inspire Aboriginal kids in the north to chase their dreams too.


Caroline Calve
Calve, who was born in Hull, Que., is the lone Native athlete on this year’s Canadian team that already has some previous Olympic experience.

The 35-year-old also participated at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. She placed 20th at the parallel giant slalom event at those Games.

As for this year, Calve, who has some Algonquin ancestry, will have two chances at capturing an Olympic medal. Besides the parallel giant slalom race she’ll also compete in the parallel slalom event, which has been added to the Olympic program.

Since her first Olympic appearance Calve has had numerous impressive international results. As a result she is considered a medal contender in Sochi.

In December of 2011 she made a bit of history, becoming the first Canadian female snowboarder to win a World Cup giant parallel slalom event in Italy.

Calve, who has been a competitive snowboarder since the age of 22, also won a gold medal at a World Cup event in Moscow this past February.

Update: Caroline competed in her event on Feb. 19 and finished 26th. She and her fellow Team Canada teammates missed the cut off to participate in the finals by finishing outside of the top 16 times.


Spencer O’Brien
O’Brien, a 23-year-old who was born in Alert Bay, B.C., is also considered a medal contender in Sochi. She’s regarded as one of the world’s best female slopestyle snowboarders.

The slopestyle event will make its Olympic debut in Sochi.
O’Brien, who has Haida/Kwakwakw’wakw heritage, started snowboarding at the age of 11.

In the early portions of her snowboarding career she competed in the halfpipe events.

Later on she fell in love with the slopestyle event. But it’s not as if she’s aspired to become an Olympian in that discipline for numerous years.

It was only in July of 2011 that the International Olympic Committee decided to include the slopestyle discipline for the Sochi Olympics.

The fact she’s racked up numerous medals in prestigious slopestyle events during the past few years makes O’Brien a competitor to keep an eye on in Sochi.

Update: Spencer O'Brien finished 12th in the women's slopestyle event at Sochi.