On April 28th, the Western Hockey League‘s East Division Hub in Regina concluded.
The final game of the season was a 6-5 OT Prince Albert win over Swift Current.
Raiders rookie Dallyn Peekeekoot enjoyed a successful run with P.A. finishing his first WHL season with four goals, two assists and a fight.
The relentless work ethic and dogged determination displayed by the 16-year-old is what got him onto a WHL roster.
“I never thought I’d be where I am now,” Peekeekoot admitted. “But, even to be drafted in the 10th round, I was like, ‘I’m going to come back stronger, harder, and let them know they made a good draft pick’.”
His mature attitude coupled with solid performance has left his head coach impressed as he’s watched the rookie transition to the next level of play.
“He works hard, he does the right things, he’s a good teammate, he just fits in,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid explained. “He’s likeable in the room, his teammates like him.”
The teen, who hails from Ahtahkakoop First Nation in Northwest Saskatchewan, wasn’t able to share his first season with his friends and family in person.
However, that didn’t stop the community from enjoying the action every time Peekeekoot hit the ice, as Ahtahkakoop rallied together hosting drive-in viewing parties where they could watch the game from their vehicles, while honking their horns in encouragement.
“It was really nice to see our community behind him, and behind us,” his mother Diane Peekeekoot said. “We had no idea that we had this much support.”
“It means a lot, just so much support brings my hope up high and makes me want to do something great for my community,” Dallyn said.
The young forward has been inspired throughout his journey by Ahtahkakoop’s most famous son, former NHL player Fred Sasakamoose, one of the first Indigenous players to make the NHL.
“I think Fred Sasakamoose, like, coming from residential schools and playing into the NHL, that made me want to do something,” Dallyn explained. “It made me feel like I could do something too.”
This season has meant much more to Peekeekoot than just establishing himself as a WHL regular in his rookie season, his journey and success have served as an inspiration to the youth of Ahtahkakoop, just like Sasakamoose did for him.
“A lot of are excited to wear his jersey and to represent us I guess, and be a role model,” Ahtahkakoop First Nation Chief Larry Ahenakew said.
“It means a lot, just to show the kids back home that anything is possible if you really put your mind to it,” Dallyn said. “To be a guy in those shoes, it’s really unbelievable.”