First Nations woman from Treaty 6 is the first to join the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets as a collegiate scout

The Winnipeg Jets have hired their first First Nations woman from Treaty 6 territory in Saskatchewan.

Sydney Daniels, 27, joins the National Hockey League team as a varsity scout, but the Mistawasis Nehiyawak First Nation woman has already had a long hockey career.

Daniels grew up in the United States for most of her life and attended Harvard University, where she captained the Harvard Crimson hockey team. When her playing career with the National Collegiate Athletic Association ended, she became the team’s assistant coach.

Now, she’s excited to be closer to her First Nation as she settles down with the Jets.

« I still pinch myself every morning when I wake up, » Daniels said at a press conference Monday morning. « It’s been kind of a whirlwind since my last job ended until I’m here in Winnipeg.

« There are those times, I think, where I’m just going to sit down and take a deep breath and kind of be present and say, ‘Whoa, I work for a professional NHL hockey team and the staff makes me trust. . I’m treated like one of them! »

Daniels is one of three scouts the Jets hired on Wednesday.

« It’s a crazy change from, you know, my comfortable position at Harvard [to] make that change to be in the NHL surrounded by the best of the best. What helped me through this process was my family, » Daniels said.

Daniels will do the bulk of NCAA recruiting for the Jets, which means she will continue to be primarily Boston-based « just because it’s kind of one of the biggest centers for college hockey. I’ve already planned recruiting trips to Minnesota and Wisconsin and Columbus [Ohio] …just to make sure I’m doing my best to get the pulse. »

Daniels, left, seen playing for the Harvard Crimson, became a college scout for the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. (Hannah Foslien/Associated Press)

Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Mark Arcand said Daniels being a woman in a male-dominated organization, the Tribal Council is thrilled with her upward trajectory.

« We support and are extremely proud of Sydney as a proud member of Mistawasis and, most importantly, as a First Nations woman, » Arcand said. « She is truly a role model for our young people. Not only her skills and dedication to the sport, but her academic achievements have helped make her the person she is today. »

Inspiring First Nations Women

Daniels admits she knows she’s something of a trailblazer, especially as a woman in a high-level position in the hockey world. She pointed to an NHL game she recently attended.

« If a little girl was there last night in Calgary, she could see me in the press box with all these bucks…completely surrounded by bucks, » Daniels said.

« I hope she can just see me and say, ‘Cool, I want to be that one day.’ And so if I could have just one impact on a young Indigenous person, that would be absolutely amazing to me.”

Daniels recognizes how important her legacy is to her, especially now in the new role in the NHL. His father, Scott Daniels, played six seasons in the NHL with Hartford, Philadelphia and New Jersey.

« I love hockey. I’m so passionate about hockey and the game and I learned it from my dad who learned it from my grandfather who was in residential school. So hockey and my native culture is so intertwined, so heavily braided inside…that it’s hard to separate those two things, » Daniels said.

« So just as much as I’m passionate about hockey, I’m also passionate about helping, empowering and providing opportunities for our Indigenous youth to grow and succeed. »


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