Fred Sasakamoose, Indigenous NHL pioneer, dead at 86

Fred Sasakamoose, one of the first Indigenous athletes to play in the National Hockey League, has died after being hospitalized with COVID-19.

He was 86 years old. 

Sasakamoose’s son, Neil Sasakamoose, said in a video on Facebook that his father had died Tuesday afternoon, five days after he was admitted to the hospital.

“The COVID virus did so much damage into his lungs, he just couldn’t keep responding,” Neil said. “He just couldn’t keep up.”

During his NHL career, Fred played 11 games with Chicago during the 1953-54 season, splitting time with the Moose Jaw Canucks of the Western Canadian Junior Hockey League.

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