Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

'Ever Sick Dangles': Indigenous Apparel Brand Celebrates First Nations Hockey


Smudge The Blades sells sweatshirts, hoodies and hats that feature Indigenous hockey lingo.

Growing up, when Harlan Kingfisher (Plains Cree from the Sturgeon Lake First Nation) would leave the house for big hockey games, his grandfather, or Mushum, would instruct him to smudge his blades and hockey stick. "Smudging" is the Indigenous practice of burning sweetgrass or sage in prayer to summon positive energy and cleanse one's spirit.

Smudge The Blades founder Harlan Kingfisher. (Harlan Kingfisher)

"I'd grab sweetgrass and I'd smudge my gear before some big games. Then, I started scoring goals and playing good, so it became more of a superstitious thing," Kingfisher told Native News Online over Zoom from his home in Alberta. After playing hockey in university for two years, the father of four began encouraging his young sons to do the same.

Now, Kingfisher encourages his sons to smudge their own blades. This pre-game tradition eventually inspired the name of his new clothing brand.


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