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Sports: Anishinaabe art in the spotlight on new Team Canada curling uniforms

With Olympic berths on the line, intensity runs high at curling trials

  With Olympic berths on the line, intensity runs high at curling trials SASKATOON — Vice-skip Darren Moulding has played in Olympic qualifiers, Grand Slams, top tour events as well as national and world championships for Brendan Bottcher's Edmonton-based team. When it comes to intensity, he says nothing quite compares to the Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials. "The camaraderie between the curlers goes away a little bit," he said. "It's probably the most competitive event I've ever played in." Bottcher's rink is oneWhen it comes to intensity, he says nothing quite compares to the Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials.

The digital replica of the new Team Canada uniforms, designed by Ojibwe artist Patrick Hunter in collaboration with Indigenous-owned Dynasty Curling, and designer Kevin Hurrie. © Submitted by Curling Canada The digital replica of the new Team Canada uniforms, designed by Ojibwe artist Patrick Hunter in collaboration with Indigenous-owned Dynasty Curling, and designer Kevin Hurrie.

Anishinaabe art will be on full display on Team Canada uniforms at next year's Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing.

Red Lake, Ont., two-spirit artist Patrick Hunter, whose family is from Keeseekoowenin First Nation northwest of Brandon, Man., is excited his designs will reach a larger audience.

"It feels pretty insane that they're going to be seen on this world stage by millions of people," Hunter says.

Fleury tops Einarson, Homan falls to Harrison to open curling trials

  Fleury tops Einarson, Homan falls to Harrison to open curling trials SASKATOON — Jacqueline Harrison admitted that nerves were a challenge in her debut appearance Saturday at the Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials. You wouldn't know it by the results. The veteran skip took a few deep breaths before settling into the hack and making a game-winning deuce for a 6-5 victory over defending champion Rachel Homan in the women's round-robin opener at the SaskTel Centre. "We were just getting rocks in play and putting them in good spots and just trying to make their shots as difficult as we could," Harrison said. "We’ve all been in big-game situations before and yes, this is a really special event and you want to do well.

"I just want there to be a lot more visibility for Indigenous people in Canada, and what a great stage to put that on."

Hunter hopes the uniforms will facilitate connections between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in the country.

"I feel like a lot of times that connection is sort of missing... That's sort of the goal behind this whole project for me, was to create conversations around First Nations culture... put it in the spotlight a little bit," he says.

Ojibwe artist Patrick Hunter says he hopes his uniform designs inspire dialogue between Indigenous communities and the rest of Canada. © Submitted by Patrick Hunter Ojibwe artist Patrick Hunter says he hopes his uniform designs inspire dialogue between Indigenous communities and the rest of Canada.

The featured designs include seven trees to represent the seven grandfather teachings of the Anishinaabe culture, four eagle feathers which represent an honoured gift for the four team members, and four sacred medicines meant to symbolize positive energy for the players. The physical design of the shirt was created by Winnipeg artist Kevin Hurrie.

Defending champion Homan in 0-2 hole at curling trials after loss to McCarville

  Defending champion Homan in 0-2 hole at curling trials after loss to McCarville SASKATOON — Early losses to the bottom two seeds at Canada's Olympic curling trials have put defending women's champion Rachel Homan in a tough spot at the SaskTel Centre. After falling to Jacqueline Harrison in the round-robin opener, Homan dropped a 9-5 decision to Krista McCarville on Sunday that left her in an 0-2 hole with the tournament's big guns still to come. "You can't really think about an 0-2 (start) versus anything else," saidAfter falling to Jacqueline Harrison in the round-robin opener, Homan dropped a 9-5 decision to Krista McCarville on Sunday that left her in an 0-2 hole with the tournament's big guns still to come.

The artist is no stranger to the sport world, and recently made headlines with his artwork adorning NHL goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's mask, as well as digital artwork for the Chicago NHL team's land acknowledgement in its home arena.

Indigenous art, business collide as 'natural fit'

The official uniform partner for Curling Canada, Dynasty Curling, is a Métis-owned apparel company based in Winnipeg. Owner Colin Hodgson says that since Hunter was a previous classmate of his fiancé, the connection seemed to develop naturally.

"We wanted to make sure we incorporated Canadian culture," says Hodgson, who is also playing for Team McEwen at the Canadian Olympic Trials in Saskatoon.

"We reached out [to Patrick] and he was excited for the project and to incorporate Indigenous culture into our uniforms, and to show support from the Indigenous community to our Canadian athletes going to the games," Hodgson says, noting Hunter's custom design of the Maple Leaf was particularly special.

Anishinaabe artist outfits Canadian Olympic curlers in Indigenous-inspired uniforms

  Anishinaabe artist outfits Canadian Olympic curlers in Indigenous-inspired uniforms SASKATOON — Canada's curlers will wear both their Canadian pride and a celebration of Indigenous spirit when they compete at the Beijing Games. Curling Canada and their uniform partner Dynasty Curling, an Indigenous-owned company based in Manitoba, unveiled new uniforms that were designed in a collaboration between two-spirit Anishinaabe artist Patrick Hunter and designer Kevin Hurrie. Canadian curlers will wear the uniforms at the 2022 Olympics and Paralympics, at the world women's curling championships in Prince George, B.C., and the world men's curling championships in Las Vegas, among other international events.

"There are a few Métis players, and it's just something very important to us right from the get-go. It was a perfect fit, I would say," Hodgson says.

"We actually manufacture our apparel in Winnipeg. It's very important to have a Canadian company manufacturing in Canada, for Canadian athletes."

He notes the uniforms were also designed with Hurrie, who has the niche job of sublimating the fabric and the designs.

Curling Canada says the collaboration for the uniforms is a way to accomplish another of the TRC's calls to action No. 83.

"We have a lot of Canadian values and we wanted to continue to show that,'' says Nolan Thiessen, executive director of marketing and plan experience.

"I think this is a really neat story to work with a really talented artist, to use our platform to showcase their skills and maybe create awareness in other communities that haven't thought about curling before."

Thiessen says call to action No. 92 was recently addressed with the opening ceremony of the Canadian Olympic Curling Trials in Saskatoon, with the first-ever grand entrance led by the Saskatoon Tribal Council, in partnership with Tourism Saskatoon.

"We wanted to show that we're an inclusive sport... all pieces of Canada, right? That's one of the big things with us, as a national sport organization — we want everybody to feel like they have a home at Curling Canada, and this has been an awesome opportunity to do that."

Thiessen says the uniforms will be presented this Sunday to the winning teams who will represent Canada at the 2022 Beijing Games from February 4-20.

Moulding opens up on meeting with Team Bottcher that led to his dismissal from team .
Darren Moulding had seen signs of fracture within Team Bottcher well before things came to a head for the reigning national men's champions this week. A group text about a sponsorship request led to an in-person team meeting at the Edmonton home of lead Karrick Martin on Friday evening. Moulding was joined at the sitdown by Martin, skip Brendan Bottcher and second Brad Thiessen. "When I showed up, I walked in the door and they basically just told me I was cut," Moulding said. Team Bottcher issued a statement later Friday night confirming Moulding's departure.

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