Fred Sasakamoose passes away at 86

Sad news from the hockey world as Saskatchewan-born Fred Sasakamoose passed away on Tuesday afternoon at the age of 86.

Reports of his death stemmed from a Facebook Live video by his son Neil Sasakamoose who provided an update on his father’s health status. According to his son, Sasakamoose was hospitalized in Saskatchewan for five days after a presumed positive COVID-19 test.

“Fred passed away at 3 o’clock Saskatchewan time. I just want to thank everyone for everything you’ve done,” explained Neil Sasakamoose in a video that began at 3:31 p.m. CST on Tuesday.

“The COVID virus did so much damage to his lungs. He couldn’t keep responding. His body couldn’t keep up.”

Raised on the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, about 72 kilometres northwest of Prince Albert, Sasakamoose is referred to as a professional hockey pioneer since he was one of the first Indigenous players to play in the National Hockey League.

He made his debut for the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1953-1954 season and went on to play 11 games in the league.

He was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 and was named to the Order of Canada in 2017.

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