Hockey

Friday Feb. 14, 2014 20:26 ET

Native culture keeps goalie Carey Price grounded, mom says

Mother Lynda Price from B.C.'s Ulkatcho First Nation

Carey Price starts Canada's first game
Carey Price looks to make an impression. (Brian Snyder/Getty)

When Lynda Price found out her son was heading to the Olympics in Sochi, she booked a plane ticket immediately.

Her son, 26-year-old Carey Price, tends goal for Canada's men’s Olympic hockey team.  

His mother, the former chief of Ulkatcho First Nation in B.C., says it’s always been a priority to support her children. That support has often meant travelling great distances.

In remote Anahim Lake, B.C., the closest competitors and rinks were miles away from where the family lived. Carey’s father bought a small plane and learned to fly so his son could play the sport. 

Carey Price now plays for the Montreal Canadiens, and was in the net when Team Canada won its debut game at Sochi on Thursday, beating Norway 3-1.

In an email interview, CBC Aboriginal asked Lynda Price about her Olympic experience so far.

1.  What are your impressions of Sochi? Were you concerned about security?

Security these days in our global environment is a concern anywhere.  I believe the people hosting the Olympic Games have done all they can to keep their people safe along with the visitors.  Sochi is a beautiful place and the scenery reminds me of Vancouver with the high snow-capped mountains and Baltic Sea.  The people here are very friendly and their language and culture is vibrant.

2.  How much communication are you able to have with your son?  Can you describe his state of mind?

When Carey competes in sports events we always have to respect his time and concentration.  We have been fortunate to be able to meet him for short durations at Canada House, located in the Olympic Park. 

We also visited shortly after his game last night against Norway.  Carey has adjusted to the time change and is concentrating on his game.  Their priority is to bring the gold medal home for Canada.

3.  How does your son stay connected to his culture?

Carey and [his sister] Kayla grew up off of the Indian reserve and did not have their status until 2011.  Their grandmother, Theresa Holte, and my siblings, Mike, Larry, Gary, David and I shared our culture, which was passed down from our mother and our ancestors. 

Our great grandfather was Chief Domas Squinas, who was Nuxalk from the Wolf Clan at Stuie and his wife Christine was Carrier from the north. 

My mom of course went to residential school.  Although she speaks Carrier fluently, the younger generation don’t speak it fluently. 

I think sustenance hunting and gathering have been a vital part of all of our lives.  Carey’s interest and our is to protect our language and we would like to see what we can do to help protect our language and culture for future generations.

5.  How does your son’s culture come through on the ice?

I think the sense of connection to our land and where we come from helps keeps us all grounded in who we are.  We cannot become disconnected and caught up in a whirlwind of popularity and become disconnected from the “real world.”

Our culture has been to maintain the simple life and appreciate the blessings our creator has given us. Fresh air, clean water and clean environment are important to us and sustainable living habits.

This online interview was edited for length. 

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