Excitement is mounting across the Cariboo Chilcotin and Central Coast as beloved Anahim Lake-raised Canadiens netminder Carey Price prepares for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs (June 28).
Just outside Anahim Lake and Ulkatcho First Nation along Highway 20, about 320 kms west of Williams Lake, stands a permanent sign with Price’s picture and the words “Home of Carey Price – Proudly supported by the Ulkatcho’ten and Anahim Lake community,” where Price was raised and his mom, Lynda, was just reelected chief of the Ulkatcho First Nation.
At closer look into the nearby communities reveals a loyal fan base that shares a deep sense of pride in Price, particularly those in Indigenous communities.
“He’s our neighbour and he’s a role model to our First Nations kids,” said Roger Harris of Bella Coola, who was driving around the Bella Coola Valley Sunday with “#31 Carey Price” and hearts draw on the windows of his truck.
Price has kept a close connection to his communities by attending local rodeos, prior to the pandemic, and also using his platform to encourage First Nations youth to be leaders in their communities. He and his wife Angela Price have also been ambassadors of the Breakfast Club of Canada since 2014, which provides a school breakfast program in communities such as Anahim Lake.
“I am proud of my roots, and it’s important to me to give back to my community in a real and lasting way,” states Price on the Breakfast Club of Canada’s website. “The positive impact goes beyond the short term: we’re nourishing dreams as well as bodies, and dreaming is the first step toward success.”
Harris, a devote Canadiens fans, is one of many locals in the Bella Coola Valley using his vehicle to show his loyalty to Price as the Stanley Cup finals are about to get underway. Harris said when the Canadiens defeated the Golden Knights local Price fans, some whom would be distant relatives of the hockey star, took to their vehicles for a full-blown drive-by of the valley to celebrate the win.
Harris expects no less for the Stanley Cup finals games.
“Every game we will probably be honking.”