2023 wphc brandy jones art

Celebrating unity with Indigenous art

The Player of the Game award for the 2023 World Para Hockey Championship is a limited-edition piece of artwork created by local Indigenous artists

Shannon Coulter
June 1, 2023

A representation of unity will be front and centre during the 2023 World Para Hockey Championship thanks to a collaboration between two local Indigenous artists.

Brandy Jones is an Inuit artist who moved to Regina from British Columbia when she was 12 years old. Her work involves mixed mediums of native arts, representing unity among all Indigenous peoples. Rodger W. Ross is of Métis/Cree descent and a member of the George Gordon First Nation in Saskatchewan. He is a multi-disciplined artist and an international award-winning documentary film producer, whose career spans four decades.

Read on to learn more about Player of the Game artwork. Answers have been slightly edited for clarity and length.

Hockey Canada (HC): How did this collaboration come together for the 2023 World Para Hockey Championship?

Rodger Ross (RR): I've worked with the Moose Jaw Warriors in the past. I did a cultural presentation to them first, and then I created an orange shirt design for them. When the situation came up with the World Para Hockey Championship, one of the ladies that I worked with reached out and gave my information. […] Seeing how Brandy’s [art form] works so well for these forms, it just seemed like a perfect collaboration. So, when I was asked [who I would recommend], she was the first name [I suggested].

Brandy Jones (BJ): Rodger has always been a very big support of my work. Not just on giving me advice, but sometimes when it comes to collaboration with the work as well, there's things that he sees in my work as I'm going along. He has a very good eye for it. For example, in the hockey helmet, at first it was connected to the feather that was attached there. And he was like, “You should put a white line to separate that.” That's something that I hadn't even seen yet. I'm always willing to work with Rodger because he always has the coolest jobs… I'm always very happy to oblige.

Captain Marc-André Plante and squadron aircraft maintenance engineering officer Nadia Kang of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds present Dominic Cozzolino with the player of the game award on May 29, 2023.

HC: What is the inspiration behind the design of the Player of the Game artwork?

RR: When we first got approached, I wanted to know more about the game because I haven't watched a lot of [para hockey]. But I've watched some para hockey, and I'm so impressed by it, because I'm a former hockey player as well. […] When I'm watching these players and how they move, the power that they have and that constant flow of energy, that to me had to be the centerpiece. […] The first thing I wanted was that hockey player in the middle, and I wanted that movement because Brandy’s art form works with that movement so well. And then I thought the best way to have the country's representatives is through their flags. […] Having the Métis flag, the Saskatchewan flag, the Treaty 4 flag, obviously the Canada flag is represented in the logo itself—to me, those seemed like the natural elements.

BJ: I think it's perfect the way that it came out. It’s the design for me that just feels like it represents Canada.

HC: Brandy, you also created another artwork for event stakeholders. What was the inspiration behind that piece?

BJ: It's a Thunderbird. Sometimes it's hard for people to decipher that type of work. Some people see it right away, and then other times people are looking in there thinking, “What is that?” That is something that Rodger and I had discussed. We had looked at the Four Directions and what represented each of those directions. For me, I really tried hard to mix those animals together. But I was finding that very hard to do at the time. I tried to just look at what I thought was the most powerful out of all four of those. I did add a bear in there as well, within the body. But for some reason, it was the Thunderbird that really stuck out to me, because there are bringers of the thunder. It’s kind of as simple as that it, it was the animal that I thought was the most powerful and stood out the most to represent what we were doing at the time.

HC: This is the first time the World Para Hockey Championship has been hosted in Canada. How does it feel knowing your contribution will be associated with the legacy of the event?

BJ: That’s so hard to answer because it just feels really incredible. There's no other way to describe it other than that; it's beautiful being able to represent like my country and also the province that I live in. It was definitely a labour of love, and I could not be happier.

RR: For me, it's always about relationships, and as far as Indigenous inclusion, any time that that I get invited to allow our voices to be heard, to allow our people to be represented, it's always going to be a great honour. But I also look at it as an obligation to reconciliation. […] It makes me feel very, very proud to be able to participate at this level, to be in an international event, and to be a part of that. For Brandy and I to be invited to hand out that award between the United States and Canada, with the world watching, I think is a pretty powerful statement of, “We haven't gone anywhere, and we're not going anywhere,” We're here, and we have beautiful cultures among us. It’s time that our voices be heard.

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

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