February 3rd, 2022 Last Updated on: February 3rd, 2022
As the 2022 Winter Olympics, athletes from over 200 countries go for gold in one of 15 sports in Beijing, China. And that includes some of the very best indigenous athletes. Though we'll see fewer indigenous athletes than in last year's Summer Olympics, you'll want to pay attention to three performers in particular.
On Canada’s Olympic team, two indigenous players must fight off one of their own on the Team USA. Abby Roque (USA), Jocelyne Larocque (Canada), and Jamie Lee Rattray (Canada) are each equally motivated to go for the gold. The United States and Canada have been hockey rivals since the dawn of Olympic hockey, and nothing has changed.
We’ll all have to watch, hold our breath, and see which team wins it.
In the meantime, learn about these three indigenous athletes who have come so far.
1. Abby Roque
Photo Credit: University of Wisconsin Badgers Women’s Hockey
On Team USA’s side, Abby Roque is a seasoned player, although first-time Olympian, who is Ojibway from the Wahnapitae First Nation. This 24-year old Olympian was the first indigenous woman ever to play on the US women’s hockey team. The sport isn’t even relatively new to Abby; she grew up in Michigan on the ice as the daughter of an NCAA hockey coach. Hockey is in her blood. Throughout her school years, including her time at the University of Wisconsin, she challenged both women and men on the rink and held her own.
Now she’s ready to battle Canada on the ice for a shot at an Olympic gold medal.
In an interview, she says:
It’s something I do hold responsible to try to make it known and try to make it that other indigenous girls and boys can play. I do feel responsible for that. I do think it’s super-important.
Follow Abby on social media!
2. Jocelyne Larocque
Photo Credit: Candice Ward, courtesy of Hockey Canada Images via Indian Country Today
Heading north into Ste. Anne, Canada, you’ll find where one of two indigenous players on Canada’s team is from. Her name is Jocelyne Larocque, and she may be looked upon as a lightweight underdog, but she has some bite. And this isn’t her first rodeo; the 2022 Olympics will be her third.
Jocelyne, from the Métis Nation, not only has played on multiple teams and has won two NCAA championships, but she is also a current independent member of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA).
She’s definitely ready for the games to begin, and she is loving the group she plays with.
In an interview in December, she said:
This group has been the most confident group I've been a part of, with that belief that you can win. That, honestly, was the thing that we were — I don't want to say missing — but lacking. This group is confident. They believe in themselves and each other. So that's huge.
Let’s just see if her prior Olympic experience and team confidence pay off.
Follow Jocelyne on social media!
3. Jamie Lee Rattray
Photo Credit: Images on Ice via TSN
Just like Team USA’s Abby Roque, Jamie Lee Rattray is a first-time Olympian from Canada. And similar to her teammate, Jocelyne, she has quite a successful hockey history. Not only was she recognized as Clarkson University’s best played in 11 years, but she won the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, was the All-American and ECAC Hockey Player of the Year, and was one of the main reasons her team won the NCAA Tournament Championship her senior year.
Ontario's own indigenous athlete is a force to reckon with, and she and Jocelyne have a decent chance at defending themselves against Team USA.
I'm looking forward to this next little bit with this team. Everyone should be excited for the Olympics. I think it's one of the biggest, coolest things in the world to watch.
Follow Jamie Lee on social media!
Tune into the 2022 Beijing Olympics
For a complete schedule, and to check out these top indigenous athletes, head on over to NBC Olympics.
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