[Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest entry from reader Isaac Velgersdyk, who’s going to tell us about a very interesting set of uniforms he recently had a hand in producing. Enjoy! — PL]
By Isaac Velgersdyk
Warroad, Minn., is a small town just south of the Canadian border. Despite having a population of only about 1,800, Warroad is a huge hockey town, and they recently hosted this year’s Hockey Day Minnesota event on Jan. 27, so their local high school boys’ and girls’ teams both played. There were over 10,000 visitors over the weekend and more than 6,000 for these high school hockey games.
Warroad High School’s team is called the Warriors, and they also use an Indian head logo. Although Native American-based team identities have recently become controversial, the story behind the school’s Native American heritage is unique. When the high school was originally established, the land it’s built on was sold to the city by a local tribal chief because he viewed education as so important. His only request was that the high school use the name Warriors. The tribe designed the school’s current logo.
I work for Gemini Athletic, the company that manufactured their jerseys for the Hockey Day Minnesota event. The front crest for the Warroad boys’ team featured the school’s logo with “Warroad Warriors” spelled out in Ojibwe, while the girls’ jersey had the Ojibwe phrase rendered as a chest script. The game program featured an explainer for both of them.
In addition, the boys’ jersey included two memorial patches. One was for Henry Boucha, a Native American hockey player from Warroad who was one of the best high school players in Minnesota history and went on to play in the NHL and WHA. He died last September. The other patch was for Michael Tveit, a Warroad coach who died last summer. Boucha and Tveit had both worked with us to help design the Hockey Day Minnesota jerseys before their deaths.
The girls’ jersey didn’t have a patch for Tveit, because he was a coach for the boys’ team. And for Boucha, the girls’ team honored him by using striping from his era, instead of a patch. In addition, the inner collar of the girls’ jersey featured an illustration of Chief Na-May-Poke to honor his legacy in Warroad.
Paul here. Very cool story, and that’s a sharp-looking uniform. Here are some additional photos from the boys’ game, followed by a video report that shows both the boys’ and girls’ teams in action:
Big thanks to Isaac for sharing this story with us!