The inspirational idea of the Orange Jersey Project was born from Tyler Fuller- an Indigenous man from Kawatoose First nation located in Saskatchewan. The idea was born from Fuller’s experience watching the devastating news that came from Kamloops Indian Residential school, and the 215 unmarked graves that were found.
Growing up, Fuller played hockey and had the opportunity to meet many great people during his career. He reached out to his long time friend, Chief Willie Sellars from the Sugar Cane Band, located outside of Williams Lake BC who Introduced Fuller to Phyllis Webstad, the creator and founder of the Orange Shirt Society (OSS). Fuller and Webstad discussed his idea and she directed Fuller to the executive director from the OSS.
Fuller connected with a former teammate who he knew at the time worked for a jersey company called Keener Jerseys located in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Fuller had an idea to showcase an Indigenous athlete through the Orange Jersey Project. His past teammate and family friend, Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price, agreed to create an Orange Jersey that Price would sign and auction to highlight the OSS’s. mission and work as part of the Every Child Matters Initiative.
Fuller, his former team mate, and the team at Keener Jerseys set out to invite more elite Indigenous hockey players, past and present, from the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Canadian National Team to participate in a signed jersey auction. Keener Jerseys was able to connect with 34 Elite Indigenous athletes to participate in the auction by the way of signing the crests of jerseys for the auction. This auction was considered a kickoff to the Orange Jersey Project. The auction was a great success thanks to Keener Jerseys and their team.
Together, The Orange Shirt Society and the Orange Jersey Project has evolved into a nationally recognized and impactful organization. With assistance from Canadian Tire, OSS and the Orange Jersey Project have been fortunate to have minor hockey teams across Turtle Island participate and receive free jerseys. Teams wear orange practice jerseys as a way to educate themselves and others with the quote, “Why Orange?”. The OSS and the Orange Jersey Project have also developed a Learning Module System for young Indigenous and Non Indigenous athletes to learn and educate themselves from coast to coast.
In the beginning, the colour orange was only to be worn on September 30. It is now used 365 days a year. Orange has become a national symbol to raise awareness and support education about the Indian Residential Schools in Canada. As we work our way to Truth and reconciliation with the concept that every child matters, we can come together to heal as one.
2021/2022 Season Phase 1
- Phase one of hockey was released to over 10,000 youth across Canada!
- Phase one was completed 2021/2022 Season
- 500 Hundred Teams across Canada received Jerseys.
2022/2023 Season Phase 2
- Phase 2 of hockey will release in the fall/winter 2022, with future releases thereafter. For any teams unable to register for phase 1, they will be placed on a waitlist for future phases.
- Phase two is now closed.
If you have any questions regarding our Trademark Application, please e-mail the Orange Shirt Society for any questions and information @ firstname.lastname@example.org