To Canadians, hockey is more than just our national sport, for some of us, it is our lifeblood. In Deline, hockey is not just a sport that kids and adults play for fun, for them, it is ingrained in their culture.
In the winter of 1825, under the command of Sir John Franklin, the Second Overland Expedition to the Arctic Ocean overwintered at Fort Franklin (now known as Déline). To pass time, the men brought ice skates and a passion for field hockey, both popular pastimes in that era. As winter set in, Franklin mentioned in his diary that his men were playing games of hockey on the ice. Because of that, Deline claims to be the birthplace of hockey in Canada.
“That claim was unanimously supported by the Government of the Northwest Territories, recognizing the birthplace of ice hockey in Canada, in Deline.”
There’s an oral tradition in the community that lends credence that Franklin’s men were, indeed, skating while they spent the winter on Great Bear Lake.
“Our elders have stated clearly from their elders that they have seen sir John Franklin’s men floating on ice, the closest they get to skating in our terminology.”
So as you get ready for the next NHL season, keep in mind that our country’s national sport began on a frozen lake in a little place called Deline, here in the Northwest Territories.
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