Edmonton man collects cards of all 70 indigenous players to skate in NHL

Naim Cardinal posted a photo of his hockey card collection to Twitter last week. (Twitter/@NaimCardinal)

The contributions to Canadian society provided by indigenous people are not celebrated as vigorously as they should be. One Edmonton man is doing what he can to ensure that the culture of his people won’t continue to be overlooked in hockey, too.

And he’s doing it through hockey cards.

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Naim Cardinal, an Indigenous community engagement advisor at Norquest University in Edmonton, posted a photo of his hockey card collection to Twitter last week. This isn’t your normal collection, however, as Cardinal has assembled the rookie card of every Indigenous player who ever played a regular season game in the NHL (and who has a card).

Many of the players’ rookie cards were tough to find. Cardinal hunted for lost gems through online websites, markets and sports card shops, according to Metro News. More-notable players to find a place in the 70-card collection include Carey Price, T.J. Oshie, Jordin Tootoo, Reggie Leach, Grant Fuhr and Fred Sasakamoose — the first indigenous man to skate in the NHL.

Cardinal told the CBC he feels “a lot of pride” in his collection and at the positive feedback he’s received since posting photos of it.

“I just feel a lot of pride for, mostly, those players and the things they’ve overcome and accomplished in their lives to reach the pinnacle of hockey, which is the NHL. It also makes me happy that I can be part of that somehow, and that’s through my collection,” he said.

Cardinal also explained that he has no idea how much money the collection is worth, and that he really doesn’t care — it’s sentimental.