Cree Edmonton Oilers Player Ethan Bear Gets Support After Receiving Racist Messages

“I’m proud of where I come from.”

Earlier this week, for the first time in franchise history the Winnipeg Jets ousted the Edmonton Oilers from the NHL Playoffs in a 4-game-sweep.

Darcy Finley / NHLI via Getty Images

In the third overtime period. The game lasted past 12:00 a.m. (MDT)/1:00 a.m. (CDT) for Edmonton and for the Winnipeg fans, respectively.

But one 23-year-old player on the Edmonton Oilers has been singled out on social media.

Ethan Bear, from Ochapowace Nation in southern Saskatchewan, is a fifth round draft pick by the Oilers in 2015.

He is also the first person in NHL history to have Cree syllabics (symbols translating to syllables) on their jersey.

In many now-deleted and privatized posts, defenseman Ethan Bear allegedly received multiple racist and hateful messages.

Not surprised at some people’s reaction to Ethan Bear being First Nations. As a First Nations person I grew up with this, it’s never ok. I even dealt with it after the Oilers lost. Stop racism. #IStandWithEthanBear

#PressRelease The Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations Chiefs are appalled with the outpour of racist and discriminatory comments made towards Ethan Bear of the @EdmontonOilers #EthanBear #StopRacism #treaty6

Some social media users have also come forward with their personal stories of dealing with racism in hockey.

Facebook: kevin.settee

Ethan Bear’s girlfriend made a touching statement on Facebook which has now gone viral.

Facebook: lenasia.ned

And Edmonton mayoral candidate Amarjeet Sohi called Ethan a “role model.”

Hockey is a sport that can unite our community. Ethan Bear is a role model and an inspiration for many Edmontonians. Racism has no place in sports, or in our city.

Twitter: @AmarjeetSohiYEG

Fortunately, the hateful comments have been outweighed by the support.

Come on you so called Oilers fans be better!! 😡😡 #EthanBearAppreciationTweet #EthanBear

Reading all these hateful racist remarks about @EdmontonOilers defensemen #EthanBear makes me tear up.. I myself who have be subject to racial comments growing up playing hockey think the time for equality is now! Stand up make your voice heard!! #EthanBearAppreciationTweet

Twitter: @L_Anderson08

Including support from Bear’s fellow teammate, Connor McDavid.

And fellow First Nations NHL legend, Reggie Leach, had this to say:

Facebook: 7rifleman1627

“I met Ethan Bear in 2017…he is a fine young man who has made us proud for how hard he has worked and for being a role model as an NHL pro hockey player. We should all be very proud of him. No one should be subjected to the unfair criticism he has received. I am a big fan of his and I am very proud of Ethan Bear.”

The Edmonton Oilers have taken this seriously and Ethan has now issued a statement.

“I’m here to stand up to this behaviour… I’m proud of where I come from. I’m proud to be from Ochapowace First Nation. I’m not just doing this for myself. I’m doing this for all people of colour & for the next generation.”

Ethan Bear’s statement in response to racist comments.

Bear will continue to be a role model for many youth and go down in history as a proud Cree NHL hockey player.

Andy Devlin / NHLI via Getty Images

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