Trenton Morriseau says games like the Orange Wave Night are special, but he
knows healing — and growth — when it comes Indigenous relations in Canada
is a process.
Morrisseau’s junior hockey team — the Kam River Fighting Walleye of the
Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL) — hosted the inaugural
Orange Wave Night on March 12 at Norwest Arena in Oliver Paipoonge, Ont.,
which celebrated Indigenous culture and traditions.
Members of the Fighting Walleye wore one-time orange design jerseys,
sponsored by Jason Thompson and his company, Warrior Supplies and
Engineering. The colour orange has become a symbol of the Indigenous
movement. According to the team, the mission is to “celebrate diversity,
promote cultural awareness and support the Indigenous community through
The game-worn jerseys were auctioned off and the money raised – more than
$10,000 – went towards post-secondary scholarships for graduating
Nineteen-year-old Morriseau, who was born and raised in Fort William First
Nation, says the hard work by everyone in the Walleye organization and the
sponsors to put this event together will go a long way.
“It’s really important to celebrate our culture with our community of
Oliver Paipoonge,” he says. “You know, it’s just the step in the right
direction for reconciliation and healing for Aboriginal people.”
While Morriseau is in his second year with the Walleye, a franchise started
in 2020, this campaign was his first full one with the club after a large
part of the 2020-21 season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Morriseau is a graduate of the Thunder Bay Kings AAA program who finished
the 2021-22 season ninth in SIJHL scoring with 21 goals and 29 assists.
He admits he would be lying if he didn’t encounter prejudice while moving
up the hockey ladder.
“At some point, every Indigenous person is going to experience some kind of
racism,” says the 5-foot-10 forward. “It’s our job to try and educate
people and you know, tell them like what’s right. And it’s not their fault,
what they hear at home from their parents and stuff either, right? So lots
of times, they’re just good kids, and they’re just kind of repeating what
they hear at home. You know what I mean? So it’s just it’s our job to
educate them. We just have to keep that in mind.”
The opening ceremony of Orange Wave Night included an Indigenous drum group
featuring Ron Kanutski, the Fort William First Nations Little NHL Team and
special dignitaries within the community.
Dignitaries consisted of Aaron Kakapetum (senior commercial account manager
of Indigenous banking, RBC); Trevor Iserhoff (director of inclusion and
diversity, SIJHL); Colin Campbell (co-owner, Kam River Fighting Walleye);
Jason Thompson (owner and founder, Warrior Supplies and Engineering); Chief
Peter Collins (Fort William First Nation); Grand Chief Derek Fox (Nishnawbe
First Nation); and Beatrice Hynnes (Ojibway anthem singer).
The Fighting Walleye capped off the celebratory evening with a win, coming
from behind to down the visiting Dryden Ice Dogs 3-2 thanks to a
game-winner from Morriseau with just 3:45 left.