Cree version of 'O Canada' sung at Oilers game by Indigenous teen
EDMONTON -- Singing Canada's national anthem in English and Cree at the Edmonton Oilers game on Saturday was an "amazing and breathtaking" moment for an Alberta teen.
Kiya Bruno, a 14-year-old from the Samson Cree Nation in Maskwacis, was asked by the NHL team to perform as part of the celebration of the 20th Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada, hosted by Yellowknife.
"There was a lot of people in the crowd and at the end they started singing along and I heard people cheering as well," Bruno told CTV News Edmonton.
"That was cool."
Bruno is no stranger to large stadiums: In June, she was asked to take her Cree version of "O Canada" to Rogers Centre for a Blue Jays game.
It was how the Oilers learned of the young singer, said Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club spokesperson Shawn May.
"We saw that Kiya Bruno sang the anthem for the Blue Jays on Canada Day last year in an English/Cree rendition. So we reached out to them to provide us with her contact info," May explained.
"She is from Samson Cree Nation (south of Westaskiwin) so she’s considered a local in a way."
Bruno said she was shocked when her mom first received the request, as she had never imagined singing for her NHL pick, but quickly excited.
"I'm glad I was able to represent Indigenous peoples across Treaty 6 territory, and just people who speak Cree in general and other Indigenous people."
According to May, Bruno's rendition was the first time the anthem was sung in Cree at Rogers Place.
Samson Cree Nation is about 90 kilometres south of Edmonton.
DRAISAITL SECURES TIE-MAKING, WINNING GOALS
The Oilers secured a 2-3 victory over the Nashville Predators Saturday night after Leon Draisaitl scored two goals which would tie, then win the Alberta team the game.
“At this time of year it's about sticking with it, it doesn't have to be pretty,” Draisaitl said. “Two points is two points. It's a gutty win for us and that's huge for our group.”
Nashville started the scoring 12 minutes into the first period as Craig Smith was able to poke a backhand off a rebound past Oilers goalie Mike Smith for his 12th goal of the season.
With Predators goalie Juuse Saros standing tall to keep the Oilers off the board, Nashville made it 2-0 with three minutes to play in the second period when Bonino was able to tip in his 17th off a shot by Dan Hamhuis.
Edmonton got a huge power-play goal with nine seconds left in the middle frame as a Connor McDavid shot hit teammate Chiasson on the way to the net and was then accidentally kicked into the net by Nashville's Kyle Turris.
The Oilers tied the game up four minutes into the third as a deft backhand pass from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins allowed Draisaitl to come up the left side and blast a shot off the post and in.
Draisaitl then gave Edmonton the lead on a four-on-three power play with seven minutes left in the third, hammering a one-timer into the top corner for his 31st of the season.
Oilers head coach Dave Tippett said Draisaitl stepped up to the plate to counter a couple of off nights in the previous games.
“He is such a dominant player when he plays a big, strong game,” he said. “That's where he was tonight. He just holds the puck and can dominate the game at times.
“He knew things weren't going as well as he liked and he knows he is one of the leaders on our team and he played with a purpose to turn it around, and tonight he did.”
The Oilers will host a third game in a row Tuesday against the Chicago Blackhawks.
With files from The Canadian Press