Jordyn Bear says she and her sister Kyla can produce some twin telepathy magic whenever they share the ice.
“We have great chemistry,” says Jordyn. “I always know where she is going to be on the ice. We are the exact same person in a different body.”
With that in mind, it isn’t surprising the two 16-year-olds share an aspiration to pursue a future with Canada’s National Women’s Team while serving as role models for Indigenous youth from coast to coast to coast.
Jordyn and Kyla, members of the Ochapowace Cree First Nation, are consistently sought out for advice about chasing after dreams by others on the reserve. The duo are already leaders in the community because their hockey skills have taken them to Penticton, B.C., to play for the Okanagan Hockey Academy.
“I want to make a path for them,” says Jordyn, a forward. “I want to show that even if you are an Indigenous kid that you can do everything, and nothing will stop you from doing it.”
Jordyn’s inclusion on the Saskatchewan roster for the 2019 National Women’s Under-18 Championship drives home that message even more.
“[She] is such a strong forward,” beams Kyla, a defenceman. “She has a bright future ahead of her.”
Jordyn credits Kyla for playing an instrumental role in helping her get to this point.
“My sister pushes me to be a better person on and off the ice. She has made a huge impact in helping me become the person I am now.”
The on-ice feats accomplished by two sisters and their older brother Kirk, a 24-year-old who has spent time in the Western Hockey League with the Red Deer Rebels and Prince George Cougars, has generated buzz throughout Ochapowace. Kyla says the community sends energy towards the Bear family, too.
“The community on the reserve is so strong and supportive,” remarks Kyla. “I have never seen a stronger support group than the one we have with Ochapowace.”
In the past couple of years, Jordyn and Kyla have also connected with Ochapowace youth through visiting Kakisiwew School and coaching on-ice skills sessions. Some of the sessions allowed the sisters to work alongside their idol Brigette Lacquette, the first woman of Indigenous heritage to play for Canada’s National Women’s Team at the Olympic Winter Games.
Lacquette, who turns 27 on Sunday, has taken advantage of the increased exposure afforded to her after winning a silver medal at the 2018 Games by engaging with First Nations youth across Canada. She finds sharing her life story is the most powerful way she can inspire young girls and boys.
“I came from a small Métis community in Mallard, Manitoba. There were about 120 people there when I was growing up. There is nothing there. But I had a goal and a dream that I wanted to play on the team one day, and that is what I set out to do.”
Lacquette, who marvels at the speed with which the Bear sisters play the game, is proud that the two of them are devoted to becoming great role models.
“I love it, and I support them 100 per cent with that.”
Jordyn and Kyla are grateful Lacquette is only a phone call or text message away to support them with their desire to become better role models and hockey players.
The two are also thankful to have each other in Penticton as they continue their push to follow in Lacquette’s footsteps.
But Jordyn has business to take care of in Morden and Winkler first.