A representation of unity will be front and centre during the 2023 World
Para Hockey Championship thanks to a collaboration between two local
Brandy Jones is an Inuit artist who moved to Regina from British Columbia
when she was 12 years old. Her work involves mixed mediums of native arts,
representing unity among all Indigenous peoples. Rodger W. Ross is of
Métis/Cree descent and a member of the George Gordon First Nation in
Saskatchewan. He is a multi-disciplined artist and an international
award-winning documentary film producer, whose career spans four decades.
Read on to learn more about Player of the Game artwork. Answers have been
slightly edited for clarity and length.
Hockey Canada (HC): How did this collaboration come together for the
2023 World Para Hockey Championship?
Rodger Ross (RR): I've worked with the Moose Jaw Warriors
in the past. I did a cultural presentation to them first, and then I created
an orange shirt design for them. When the situation came up with the World
Para Hockey Championship, one of the ladies that I worked with reached out
and gave my information. […] Seeing how Brandy’s [art form] works so well
for these forms, it just seemed like a perfect collaboration. So, when I was
asked [who I would recommend], she was the first name [I suggested].
Brandy Jones (BJ): Rodger has always been a very big
support of my work. Not just on giving me advice, but sometimes when it
comes to collaboration with the work as well, there's things that he sees in
my work as I'm going along. He has a very good eye for it. For example, in
the hockey helmet, at first it was connected to the feather that was
attached there. And he was like, “You should put a white line to separate
that.” That's something that I hadn't even seen yet. I'm always willing to
work with Rodger because he always has the coolest jobs… I'm always very
happy to oblige.
Captain Marc-André Plante and squadron aircraft maintenance engineering officer Nadia Kang of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds present Dominic Cozzolino with the player of the game award on May 29, 2023.
HC: What is the inspiration behind the design of the Player of the Game
RR: When we first got approached, I wanted to know more
about the game because I haven't watched a lot of [para hockey]. But I've
watched some para hockey, and I'm so impressed by it, because I'm a former
hockey player as well. […] When I'm watching these players and how they
move, the power that they have and that constant flow of energy, that to me
had to be the centerpiece. […] The first thing I wanted was that hockey
player in the middle, and I wanted that movement because Brandy’s art form
works with that movement so well. And then I thought the best way to have
the country's representatives is through their flags. […] Having the Métis
flag, the Saskatchewan flag, the Treaty 4 flag, obviously the Canada flag is
represented in the logo itself—to me, those seemed like the natural
BJ: I think it's perfect the way that it came out. It’s the
design for me that just feels like it represents Canada.
HC: Brandy, you also created another artwork for event stakeholders.
What was the inspiration behind that piece?
BJ: It's a Thunderbird. Sometimes it's hard for people to
decipher that type of work. Some people see it right away, and then other
times people are looking in there thinking, “What is that?” That is
something that Rodger and I had discussed. We had looked at the Four
Directions and what represented each of those directions. For me, I really
tried hard to mix those animals together. But I was finding that very hard
to do at the time. I tried to just look at what I thought was the most
powerful out of all four of those. I did add a bear in there as well, within
the body. But for some reason, it was the Thunderbird that really stuck out
to me, because there are bringers of the thunder. It’s kind of as simple as
that it, it was the animal that I thought was the most powerful and stood
out the most to represent what we were doing at the time.
HC: This is the first time the World Para Hockey Championship has been
hosted in Canada. How does it feel knowing your contribution will be
associated with the legacy of the event?
BJ: That’s so hard to answer because it just feels really
incredible. There's no other way to describe it other than that; it's
beautiful being able to represent like my country and also the province that
I live in. It was definitely a labour of love, and I could not be happier.
RR: For me, it's always about relationships, and as far as
Indigenous inclusion, any time that that I get invited to allow our voices
to be heard, to allow our people to be represented, it's always going to be
a great honour. But I also look at it as an obligation to reconciliation.
[…] It makes me feel very, very proud to be able to participate at this
level, to be in an international event, and to be a part of that. For Brandy
and I to be invited to hand out that award between the United States and
Canada, with the world watching, I think is a pretty powerful statement of,
“We haven't gone anywhere, and we're not going anywhere,” We're here, and we
have beautiful cultures among us. It’s time that our voices be heard.