Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

North Stars’ Hawco: Making Saves for Indigenous Youth

(Photo credit to Martin Martinson/BattlefordsNow)

(Article credit to Martin Martinson/

Battlefords North Stars first-year goaltender, Joey Hawco is doing what he can to make a positive impact on the next generation, through his ‘Making Saves for Indigenous Youth’ initiative.

For each save the young netminder makes this season, he will donate 25 cents to Indspire, a national Indigenous registered charity that invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people for the long-term benefit of the individuals, their families, their communities, and Canada.

Friday night for example, after pitching a 29-save shutout in his Stars’ debut, Hawco donated $7.25 to the charity. It’s something the still 17-year-old netminder said is all about encouraging and inspiring the next generation to follow their dreams, whatever they may be.

“I think that’s a really important thing for the Indigenous community, to have people reaching for their goals and dreams and I think a lot of that can come from school, going onto University and doing what you want in life,” Hawco said.

The inspiration for the idea is something the Stars’ puck-stopper said came about shortly after competing at his first National Aboriginal Hockey Championship last year with Team Atlantic.

Hawco – who is from Halifax, NS., but whose mother is from Fisher River Cree Nation in Manitoba – learned not just new skills on the ice, but also new things about Indigenous culture away from the rink.
“That put me together with a lot of other Indigenous people who played high-level hockey and kind of just opened my eyes to how most of the other kids had a better connection with their Indigenous background and community,” Hawco said. “I’m an off-reserve Indigenous person, so I didn’t think I had as much of a connection to the Indigenous community and I wanted to change that.”

“It was pretty special to be a part of that and there were a lot of activities we did [culturally],” Hawco continued. “Most of Team Atlantic were Mi’kmaq, and we would learn some words and do a lot of cultural things that I hadn’t experienced before, so it was great to see that.”

From there, the idea for the Saves for Indigenous Youth was born, going on to raise $1,692 in its first season, thanks to the donations of Hawco and the many from all around who pitched in as well with donations of their own, including the Nova Scotia U18 AAA League, which donated $500 to the cause.

Hawco said it’s been a rewarding experience seeing so many from all backgrounds get involved and help out where they can.

“I think it’s awesome knowing you can help bring both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous community together because I get donations from everyone who just wants to help try to make a change.

To learn more about Making Saves for Indigenous Youth, or to donate, click here.

Hawco and his North Stars teammates will return to action Thursday for their first of what will be three games in three nights, Thursday, Friday and Saturday night in Yorkton (the first two nights) and Melville (to cap the trip).

Thursday’s game will be available on 1050 CJNB, with the Ultra Print Pregame Show at 6:30 p.m. and puck drop to follow at 7 p.m. on the NAPA Auto Parts North Stars Broadcast.