Today, May 18, 2021, is officially Fred Sasakamoose Day in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan.
Sasakamoose inspired many across the sport and throughout North America after becoming one of the first Indigenous-born athletes to play in the NHL when he played 11 games with the Blackhawks during the 1953-54 season. He passed away at the age of 86 last November after being hospitalized with COVID-19.
The proclamation coincides with the release of the late hockey luminary's autobiography, "Call Me Indian," which is available now.
For his impact on his home province and on the game of hockey as a whole, Sasakamoose will also soon be memorialized with a bronze statue outside the SaskTel Centre in the Saskatchewan's largest city, Saskatoon. The building is home to the Western Hockey League's Saskatoon Blades and has one statue already outside its walls -- that of Gordie Howe, who was raised in the city before becoming one of the NHL's all-time greats. Soon, another Saskatchewan-raised NHL icon will rightfully stand alongside 'Mr. Hockey.'
"That was one of his heroes, was Gordie Howe. He looked up to him greatly and to be associated in the same manner as Gordie Howe, he would have been delighted," Fred's son, Neil, told PANow.com in April.
Sasakamoose was named to the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 and to the Order of Canada in 2018.
To learn more about the incredible impact of Fred Sasakamoose, click here.