The Ulkatcho Nation’s hometown hero Carey Price has reached a new high point in his career. The 26-year-old from Anahim Lake, B.C., led the men’s hockey team to a gold medal victory over Sweden on the last day of the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi.
Thousands of Canadians rose early to watch the final game, which saw Price earn his second shutout of the games, beating the Swedes 3 – 0. There was even a Twitter hashtag #ThePriceIsRight#.
Price was chosen as the starting goalie based on his season with the Montreal Canadiens. His efforts were extraordinary. He didn’t give up a goal over the final 164 minutes and 19 seconds of tournament play, and posted back-to-back shutouts over the United States and Sweden, both of whom were undefeated before they played the Canadians.
According to Team Canada’s Olympic coach Mike Babcock, Price “is one of those guys, with his talent base, can be a real difference-maker in the National Hockey League and in international hockey, if he chooses to and if he has the fire to do it. It appears to me that he does.”
According to Carey’s mother, Lynda Price, it is his connection to his culture, both Nuxalk and Ulkatcho, which keeps him grounded. “Our great grandfather was Chief Domas Squinas who was Nuxalk from the Wolf Clan at Stuie and his wife Christine was Carrier from the north,” said Price. “My mom of course went to Residential School. Although she speaks Carrier fluently, the younger generation don’t speak it fluently. Carey’s interest and ours is to protect our language and we would like to see what we can do to help protect our language and culture for future generations.”
Price was also lauded for his humble, down-to-earth demeanour and obvious respect for his teammates. Price thanked his family for all their support and praised the efforts of his teammates. “I can’t say enough about that team in front of me – that group of forwards and that defensive line. That was a real pleasure to play behind,” said Price. “There’s no question, their work ethic was second to none this whole tournament.”
The community of Anahim Lake was united in their support of Price, gathering at the Ulkatcho First Nation’s Nagwuntl’oo School to him cheer on. School administrator Joanne Brar says the 26-year-old has given the community something to be proud of.
“That’s the biggest thing, because I think you know every community does have their challenges, but you know, Carey’s a healthy role model, and he’s actually made it quite far,” said Brar.
The school has been the hub of hockey action during the Olympics, with people piling in to watch the games on big-screen TV each time Price takes to the ice.
Brar said the phone has been ringing off the hook asking for updates since the men’s ice hockey competition started. But, before the Olympics, few people in the community even followed the sport.
Brar said the tournament brought the community together. “You know I’ve never had so many calls from the community in a short little time. Like, that’s all you hear in community, everywhere you go,” she said. “You go to the store, people go, ‘hey did you watch the game?’”