Oilers fans denounce racism and support Ethan Bear at Saturday rally

EDMONTON — Hundreds of Edmonton Oilers fans rallied together outside Rogers Place on Saturday to show support for Ethan Bear after he experienced racism online.

The Indigenous defenceman was singled out after the team’s crushing defeat on Monday where an untimely giveaway helped the Winnipeg Jets tie the game for an overtime win.

Bear, who has been with the team since 2018, grew up in the Ochapowace First Nation in Saskatchewan.

The 23-year-old player said on Wednesday in a video statement that he was subject to racist comments online following the Oilers loss.

READ MORE: Oilers’ Ethan Bear: ‘I’ve been subject to racist behaviour on social media’ 

“The people who made those remarks on social media are keyboard cowards,” said Allan Beaver, the rally’s master of ceremonies.

BEAR

Some of Bear’s community members travelled nine hours to be present at the rally.

“We were all saddened back home, however, it encouraged us to rise,” said Margaret Bear.

Fourteen-year-old Dane Thomas told CTV News Edmonton that a sense of belonging in hockey is important.

“He’s from my reserve,” Thomas said. “He’s my role model. Also, he makes me want to work harder to make the NHL.” 

Bear also drove by the rally and thanked fans for their support.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Touria Izri

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