Fred Sasakamoose. Hockey
Series: Chiefs and Champions
In 1953, Fred Sasakamoose became the first status Indian to play in the NHL. Known for his deadly slapshot, Fred was sometimes called "the reluctant Blackhawk" because he almost refused a contract with Chicago in favour of returning to Sandy Lake reserve. After only one season, he chose to leave the NHL, but went on to play with the WCHL's Kamloops Chiefs, where he was named honourary chief of the Kamloops Indian Band. When he returned home, he became Chief for six years. Fred discusses the difficulty of overcoming his residential school experience, his battle with alcohol and the work he now does to heal substance abuse in his community.