Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic
Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Elder Fred Sasakamoose receives honorary diploma at Saskatoon Convocation

Many people know Elder Fred Sasakamoose for his exceptional athletic prowess and his incredible skill on the ice. He was the first Indigenous hockey player from Canada to play in the NHL and the first NHL player with treaty status.

Growing up in northern Saskatchewan, Fred learned to skate at age five from his grandfather. Back then, there were no such things as carbon fibre hockey sticks or lightweight composite midsole skates with hydrophobic grip liners. Fred’s grandfather tied bob skates to his moccasins and he used willow branches for hockey sticks.

By the early 1950s Fred was playing for the Moose Jaw Canucks and, in 1954, he was called up to the Chicago Blackhawks and finished the season. Playing professional hockey gave the young man many opportunities, and when he retired, Fred returned home to help others. Fred worked extensively to build and develop minor hockey and other sports in his home community.

Today, Elder Sasakamoose is a member of several halls of fame, including the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame and the Canadian Native Hockey Hall of Fame. Beyond his sports background, Elder Sasakamoose also been a mentor, leader and guiding force for countless people. He has been recognized for his achievements and contributions by the Assembly of First Nations and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations.

Since the first honorary diploma was awarded in 2003, Sask Polytech has been recognizing extraordinary individuals who model the institution's vision and values. The contributions made by the members of this elite group help cultivate an educational environment focused on applied learning and innovative research.

View past recipients online.

Watch the 2017 Saskatoon convocation ceremony.

Published June 2017.