Edmonton Rallies Behind Cree Oilers Player Ethan Bear After Receiving Racist Messages

Posted on May 28, 2021

“I’m proud of where I come from.”

Earlier this week, for the first time in franchise history the Winnipeg Jets ousted the Edmonton Oilers from the NHL Playoffs in a 4-game-sweep.

Darcy Finley / NHLI via Getty Images

In the third overtime period. The game lasted past 12:00 a.m. (MDT)/1:00 a.m. (CDT) for Edmonton and for the Winnipeg fans, respectively.

But one 23-year-old player on the Edmonton Oilers has been singled out on social media.

Ethan Bear, from Ochapowace Nation in southern Saskatchewan, is a fifth round draft pick by the Oilers in 2015.

He is also the first person in NHL history to have Cree syllabics (symbols translating to syllables) on their jersey.

NHL / Via Giphy

In many now-deleted and privatized posts, defenseman Ethan Bear allegedly received multiple racist and hateful messages.

Not surprised at some people’s reaction to Ethan Bear being First Nations. As a First Nations person I grew up with this, it’s never ok. I even dealt with it after the Oilers lost. Stop racism. #IStandWithEthanBear

08:28 PM – 26 May 2021

#PressRelease The Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations Chiefs are appalled with the outpour of racist and discriminatory comments made towards Ethan Bear of the @EdmontonOilers #EthanBear #StopRacism #treaty6

05:00 PM – 26 May 2021

Some social media users have also come forward with their personal stories of dealing with racism in hockey.

Facebook: kevin.settee

Ethan Bear’s girlfriend made a touching statement on Facebook which has now gone viral.

Facebook: lenasia.ned

And Edmonton mayoral candidate Amarjeet Sohi called Ethan a “role model.”

Hockey is a sport that can unite our community. Ethan Bear is a role model and an inspiration for many Edmontonians. Racism has no place in sports, or in our city. https://t.co/Vu8zWxmte3

02:42 PM – 26 May 2021

Twitter: @AmarjeetSohiYEG

Fortunately, the hateful comments have been outweighed by the support.

Come on you so called Oilers fans be better!! 😡😡 #EthanBearAppreciationTweet #EthanBear

07:42 PM – 26 May 2021

Reading all these hateful racist remarks about @EdmontonOilers defensemen #EthanBear makes me tear up.. I myself who have be subject to racial comments growing up playing hockey think the time for equality is now! Stand up make your voice heard!! #EthanBearAppreciationTweet

11:34 PM – 26 May 2021

Twitter: @L_Anderson08

Including support from Bear’s fellow teammate, Connor McDavid.

facebook.com

And fellow First Nations NHL legend, Reggie Leach, had this to say:

Facebook: 7rifleman1627

“I met Ethan Bear in 2017…he is a fine young man who has made us proud for how hard he has worked and for being a role model as an NHL pro hockey player. We should all be very proud of him. No one should be subjected to the unfair criticism he has received. I am a big fan of his and I am very proud of Ethan Bear.”

The Edmonton Oilers have taken this seriously and Ethan has now issued a statement.

“I’m here to stand up to this behaviour… I’m proud of where I come from. I’m proud to be from Ochapowace First Nation. I’m not just doing this for myself. I’m doing this for all people of colour & for the next generation.” Ethan Bear’s statement in response to racist comments.

10:45 PM – 26 May 2021

Bear will continue to be a role model for many youth and go down in history as a proud Cree NHL hockey player.

Andy Devlin / NHLI via Getty Images

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