AMC Responds to Racist Comments Made by ESPN Newscaster Towards Dakota Hockey Player Zach Whitecloud

May 9, 2023

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba

AMC Communications

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) issues the following statement in response to Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) Broadcaster John Anderson’s racist remarks regarding the last name of Zach Whitecloud, National Hockey League (NHL) Golden Knights defenseman and member of Sioux Valley Dakota Nation.

“I am truly disheartened that such an incredible role model for Indigenous youth has had to endure such inappropriate commentary as he did last night,” said Grand Chief Cathy Merrick. “Zach is the first hockey player from his First Nation to make it to the NHL, and so many youths look up to him and have hopes and dreams of also being in the NHL one day. So many First Nations youth play hockey across Canada; it is a sport that brings us together. Yet we continue to see discrimination and racism in the NHL community at all levels.”

First Nations names are sacred, and they carry the legacy of our ancestors who came before us and suffered in many ways for the benefits everyone enjoys today as Canadian and American citizens. AMC is incredibly disappointed with the commentary from John Anderson during what should have been a thrilling and proud game night.

“We hope that ESPN and the NHL officials use these disappointingly racist incidents as opportunities to address racism and prejudice that continue to exist in hockey today,” said Grand Chief Cathy Merrick, “NHL players, officials, and sports broadcasters should lead the industry standard for modelling honourable sportsmanship. Zach’s acceptance of John Anderson’s apology demonstrates incredible strength and sportsmanship, an example that the NHL should take note of. We hope that ESPN and the NHL will address this issue with appropriate reparations.”


For more information, please contact:
Communications Team
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

About the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs
AMC was formed in 1988 by the Chiefs in Manitoba to advocate on issues that commonly affect First Nations in Manitoba. AMC is an authorized representative of 62 of the 63 First Nations in Manitoba with a total of more than 151,000 First Nation citizens in the province, accounting for approximately 12 percent of the provincial population. AMC represents a diversity of Anishinaabe (Ojibway), Nehetho / Ininew (Cree), Anishininew (Ojibwe-Cree), Denesuline (Dene) and Dakota Oyate (Dakota) people. The current elected Grand Chief of AMC is Grand Chief Cathy Merrick of Pimicikamak Cree Nation.