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Article

1972 Canada-Soviet Hockey Series (Summit Series)

For many Canadians, particularly baby boomers and Generation X, the eight-game hockey series between Team Canada and the national team of the Soviet Union in September 1972 provided the greatest moment in Canada’s sporting history. Most expected that Canada would handily defeat the Soviet Union, but this confidence quickly disappeared when Canada lost the first game. The series was tied heading into the final game in Moscow, which ended in dramatic fashion, with Paul Henderson scoring in the final seconds to give Canada the victory. The series became as much a Cold War political battle of democracy versus communism and freedom versus oppression as it was about hockey. The series had a lasting impact on hockey in Canada and abroad.

Article

Art Ross

​Arthur Howey Ross, hockey player, inventor/innovator and NHL team executive (born 13 January 1885 in Naughton [Sudbury], ON; died 5 August 1964 in Medford, Massachusetts). Ross was considered a top defenseman during a playing career that included several years as a professional (with a brief stint in the fledgling National Hockey League). Following his retirement as a player in 1918, Ross worked as an NHL referee and coached the NHL’s Hamilton Tigers in 1922–23. The Boston Bruins hired him when they entered the league in 1924, and Ross served as coach, general manager and vice president (often holding all three titles at once) until 1954. Ross also invented improved versions of the hockey puck and goalie nets that were used for decades in the NHL, and introduced many of the rules that modernized the game.

Article

Don Cherry

Donald Stewart “Grapes” Cherry, hockey broadcaster, coach, player, team owner (born 5 February 1934 in Kingston, ON). Don Cherry is best known as the former hockey analyst and commentator on the Hockey Night in Canada segment, “Coach’s Corner.” As a hockey player, Cherry won a Memorial Cup with the Barrie Flyers in 1953 and had a long career in the American Hockey League (AHL), winning the Calder Cup four times. He won coach of the year honours in both the AHL and National Hockey League (NHL) and coached the Boston Bruins to two Stanley Cup Finals before retiring from coaching. His 39-year stint on “Coach’s Corner” made him a Canadian icon, albeit a controversial one. Nicknamed “Grapes” (a play on his last name and the term “sour grapes”), Cherry’s blunt opinions made him a lightning rod for controversy. He faced accusations of bigotry and racism throughout his broadcasting career and was fired in 2019 for comments that were widely regarded as being racist toward immigrants. Also in 2019, he was inducted into the American Hockey League Hall of Fame.

Article

Mark Messier

Mark Douglas “Moose” Messier, hockey player (born 18 January 1961 in Edmonton, AB). A talented forward who played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for 25 seasons, Mark Messier is considered one of the greatest hockey players of all time. He ranks near the top of many regular-season NHL records: third in points (1,887), eighth in goals (694), third in assists (1,193) and second in games played (1,756). He is also second all-time in playoff goals (109), playoff assists (186) and playoff points (295), and fourth overall in playoff games played (236). Famous for his leadership, he captained the Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks. He also won the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player with the Oilers in 1990 and with the Rangers in 1992. Messier won six Stanley Cups and received the Conn Smythe Trophyas playoff MVP in 1984. An Officer of the Order of Canada, he has been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and Canada’s Walk of Fame.

Article

Larry Walker

Larry Kenneth Robert Walker, baseball player, coach (born 1 December 1966 in Maple Ridge, BC). Larry Walker is arguably the greatest Canadian position player in Major League Baseball (MLB) history. He and pitcher Ferguson Jenkins are the only Canadian players to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. A five-time all-star, Walker won seven Gold Gloves, three Silver Sluggers and the 1997 National League MVP award. He hit more than .300 in nine seasons, led the Major Leagues in batting average three times and was the first Canadian-born player to win a batting title since Tip O’Neill in 1887. Walker leads all Canadian MLB players in hits, home runs, RBI, doubles and runs scored. He won the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year in 1998 and received the Tip O’Neill Award as Canada’s best baseball player nine times — more than any other player. He has also been inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame, the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

Article

Canada’s Walk of Fame

Canada’s Walk of Fame is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honouring Canadians who have achieved excellence in the fields of arts and entertainment, science and technology, business, philanthropy and athletics. Modelled after the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it stretches along 13 city blocks in Toronto’s Entertainment District. Each inductee’s name and signature are etched onto a plaque embedded on the sidewalk, along with a star resembling a maple leaf. Inductees are honoured at an annual, nationally broadcast gala in Toronto. One hundred and eighty people have been inducted since 1998.

Macleans

Gretzky Retires

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on April 26, 1999. Partner content is not updated.

Hollywood will no doubt make a movie about Wayne Gretzky some day, and it will have to include the scene where he plays his last game in Canada, in Ottawa against the Senators.