Indigenous Williams Lake teen part of national hockey documentary

An Indigenous teenage hockey goaltender from Williams Lake is featured in a documentary being hailed as the first-of-its kind about community hockey in Canada, all filmed on a single day.

Fourteen-year-old year Darian Louie is a rising star with the Williams Lake Hockey Minor Association and has been on the ice at a young age ever since he could walk, he said.

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He was one of many Canadians selected to be a part of Hockey 24: A Film by Canada that had its broadcast premiere on Sportsnet on Sunday, May 24.

Darian currently lives with his grandmother and former Chief of the Williams Lake Indian Band, Ann Louie.

Ann said hockey runs deep in their family and that it’s been an integral component of her own life for nearly five decades.

“I didn’t expect to be a part of it but I’m proud of my grandson to be selected to go through with Hockey 24,” she said.

“My husband played as a goaltender and my sons played and now my grandchildren are playing.”

After taking guardianship of Darian a couple of years ago, Ann said she had encouraged him to get into sports and keep his education up.

She had scrimped and saved to help make it happen.

“I’m a single parent and I have a couple other children as well and goalie equipment as you know is quite expensive so I just purchased it piece by piece,” she said. “The first time that he had wanted to play goaltender I bought a set out of Edmonton that was used. It was $200 for all of the equipment and after that I slowly started buying new pieces separately and slowly. Now he’s got all that he pretty much needs.”

Darian said he enjoys everything about hockey and has made many friends through it.

“I have no clue,” he said on what he would be doing if it wasn’t for hockey. “It’s so crazy to think about what I could be doing.”

Ann said youth are kept away from negative influences such as drugs and alcohol by being involved in sports.

Since the premiere of Hockey 24, Ann and Darian have been getting positive feedback.

“I’ve had a people saying it was cool and that they liked it,” Darian said. “There were some people that just randomly messaged me out of the blue asking if it was me that they had seen on TV, and then I got one from a WHL player from the Portland Winterhawks who said he had watched it and seen me and he had messaged me on Instagram.”

Although Darian’s hockey season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in the cancellation of the peewee provincial championships in West Vancouver, he said he cannot wait to get back on the ice.

Ann said she will re-register him for the upcoming season.

“I’m just really extremely proud of him,” Ann said of Darian. “He’s done well in his hockey and he’s now employed at the band and he’s still going to school. For most teenagers his age he’s done quite well for himself.”

“I just have to say thanks to the coaches and the teams too for being so very encouraging to him, and all his teammates because they’ve been very supportive and the Williams Lake Indian Band and the community as well,” she added.

Hockey 24 will be available to stream free on Hot Docs until June 30.

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