Not to be outdone by the Lynx, the West Nipissing Sting U11 team also sported orange jerseys on September 30th during that day’s team practice. The Stings U11 coach, Steven Beauparlant explains that the jerseys were surplus that the Sting had received as part of the Orange Jersey Project, an awareness initiative for Truth and Reconciliation. “I did the project for two of our teams from last year, or the year before, and I had a few extra jerseys. I was able to grab jerseys for the kids and present them with jerseys this year,” he explains, adding that it’s approximately the first thousand teams who sign up for this project who will receive the jersey.
From there, the purpose of the jerseys is to bring awareness and help start the conversation with young athletes about truth and reconciliation. “I gave them the jerseys, we talked about it in the room, about injustices that happened in the past, that we all need to take ownership and realize that this happened, that it can’t happen again, that it was wrong and that we’re not blind to it,” describes Beauparlant.
Though he had to use the leftover jerseys this time, Beauparlant mentions that he applied for the Orange Jersey Project again this year, but that by the time the jerseys arrive it’s already past the date for Orange Shirt Day. However, he plans to keep those ones for next year to keep the project going for the U11 team, especially after the positive response. “The parents really liked it. I don’t think anyone was expecting it. It was just that we had a practice, I had the jerseys, the timing was right. Whenever I can do stuff like that, I will,” he says.