June 7, 2024

Kai Hickes loves hockey and his teammates. Born in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Kai and his family now live in the Ottawa community of Greely. He began his minor hockey journey with the Metcalfe Jets IP Program and then made the jump to the Gloucester Rangers competitive association at U9. Kai spent last season with the U12 AAA Upper Canada Cyclones and will be returning to their U13 team for the upcoming 2024-25 season.

Inuit from the Kivalliq region of Nunavut, Kai comes from a hockey loving family. In celebration of Indigenous History Month, we asked Kai five questions about hockey and his Indigenous heritage. See what he had to say below.


Q: How did you get into hockey? What has been your proudest moment to date?

A: My whole family plays hockey - everyone from my dad, to my grandpa, uncles and cousins.

My proudest moment was making AAA and playing for the Upper Canada Cyclones last year.


Q: What is your goal for yourself in your hockey career?

A: My goal is to keep playing at the highest level. I want to work my hardest and be the best player that I can.


Q: Who do you look up to as a role model?

A: My grandpa is in the North American Indigenous Athletics Hall of Fame and their team jersey is in the Hockey Hall of Fame. I also look up to my dad, he played with the Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN Blizzard) in the MJHL and in the WHL for the Kamloops Blazers. I look up to Jordin Tootoo (my cousin) because he overcame a lot of challenges to make it to the NHL.


Q: Can you provide a little bit of background on you and your family’s indigenous heritage?

A: I was born in Iqaluit, Nunavut. My family is Inuk from the Kivalliq region of Nunavut (Rankin Inlet).


Q: In your opinion, how could the hockey community work on becoming more inclusive?

A: There could be more opportunities for Indigenous hockey players to meet and train together. This summer I will be playing in an Indigenous hockey tournament and am really excited about more opportunities to meet and play with other Indigenous players.

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