True North Land Acknowledgement
Canada Life Centre is located on Treaty One lands, the original territories of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, Lakota, Dene peoples, and the homeland of the Red River Métis.
What is WASAC?
The Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre (WASAC) is a non-profit that embraces the pride of Winnipeg's Indigenous youth and families and helps to remove barriers for thousands of children and youth annually through sport, culture, and recreation.
The current Winnipeg Jets WASAC initiatives are the result of a long-standing relationship between True North Sports + Entertainment and WASAC dating back to the days of the original Manitoba Moose franchise. The program is part of the NHL's "This is Hockey" initiative, which promotes diversity and inclusion in hockey, while emphasizing the need to provide a safe and inclusive environment for everyone in the community to both play and enjoy the game.
2023 Winnipeg Jets WASAC Night & Community Initiatives
The Jets will celebrate WASAC Night on March 4 at 6 p.m. through Indigenous art and music. The Jets will sport their 2023-edition WASAC jerseys for the pre-game warm-up, and the visiting Edmonton Oilers will also join in the celebration by wearing their own Indigenized warmup jerseys featuring their Turtle Island logo, marking the first time two NHL teams will be on the ice together in their Indigenized sweaters. Following warm-ups, a special puck drop ceremony will take place at centre ice, featuring Phil Fontaine, former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, and chief of Sagkeeng First Nation.
Music from a variety of Indigenous cultures will fill Canada Life Centre, headlined by a second intermission performance from Juno-winning singer-songwriter William Prince of Peguis First Nation. Since releasing his first solo album in 2015, Prince has continued to build momentum in the music industry, noted by a Western Canadian Music Award, Canadian Folk Music Awards and his Contemporary Roots Album of the Year Juno Award in 2017, among several other accolades. Most recently, Prince performed on the stage of the legendary Grand Ole Opry in Nashville in February in promotion of his fourth album set to release in April this year.
Along with the Prince performance, fans will be treated to the sounds of the Spirit Horse Singers drum group during the puck drop ceremony, Inuit throat singers and North End Band performances throughout the evening, and singer Krista Rey will perform the Métis anthem in the first intermission. O Canada will be sung in Dakota by Mahpiya Hdega Waya watipi (Spotted Cloud School) student choir from Dakota Plains Wahpeton Nation.
Almost $50,000 was raised for WASAC over the 2021-22 season, both through the WASAC jersey auction and WASAC retail program, which will allow WASAC to continue their work to enrich the lives of youth in our community.
The WASAC warm-up worn and issued jersey auction will go live on Thursday, April 29 and will close on Sunday, May 9 at 8 p.m. CT All funds raised will be put back into the WASAC initiative to create opportunity for Indigenous youth across the province.
All Jets Gear locations (Canada Life Centre, Kildonan Place, Polo Park, St. Vital and Bell MTS Iceplex) and TrueNorthShop.com sell a variety of limited edition WASAC and Manitoba Moose Follow Your Dreams merchandise, with a portion of the proceeds going to WASAC.
Past WASAC Initiatives
In 2019, True North's design team collaborated with Cree designer Leticia Spence to create Indigenized versions of Jets and Moose logos. The logos have since been used on specialty warm-up jerseys for the Jets and game jerseys for the Moose.
Indigenous youth from remote and northern communities have been welcomed to WASAC and Follow Your Dreams games. Those youth have had the chance to skate with several Indigenous hockey role models at Camp Manitou.