Submitted by Leslie Bradshaw, Manager, Sports Partnerships, Canadian Tire Corporation *
At rinks across the country, thousands of youth hockey players have been improving their skills while wearing orange jerseys. And when they get off the ice, these young people and their coaches have been having tough but necessary conversations about why those jerseys are on their backs. This is all part of the Orange Jersey Project, a grassroots truth and reconciliation initiative.
Created by the Orange Shirt Society, the Orange Jersey Project uses the power of sport as a vehicle to educate young athletes about the history of the Indian Residential School System and strengthen the path toward truth and reconciliation. Through the project, sport teams are provided with orange practice jerseys that serve as both a visual reminder and an act of solidarity with Indigenous people and players. The jerseys are accompanied by learning materials that encourage education, discussion, and action about the impacts of the Indian Residential School System.
As premier sponsor of the Orange Jersey Project, Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC) helped scale the program for the 2022/23 hockey season, reaching more than 750 teams and 15,000 youth players across Canada. To date, over 1,250 hockey teams and 25,000 athletes have participated in the project since its inception in 2021.
To further support the Orange Jersey Project and recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, in September 2022, CTC sold “Every Child Matters” orange t-shirts in Canadian Tire, Mark’s, and Sport Chek stores across the country. 100 per cent of the net proceeds from these sales were donated to the Orange Jersey Project, totalling more than $243,000.