Braden Holtby’s new mask designed in collaboration with Luke Marston and David Gunnarsson. (Mike Wavrecan photo)

Braden Holtby’s new mask designed in collaboration with Luke Marston and David Gunnarsson. (Mike Wavrecan photo)

B.C. Coast Salish artist designs new mask for Canucks goalie

Braden Holtby’s new mask features artwork by Luke Marston inspired by the legend of the seawolf

New Vancouver Canucks goalie Braden Holtby will be sporting a new mask, designed in collaboration by Vancouver Island Indigenous artist, Luke Marston, and NHL mask artist David Gunnarsson.

Holtby’s initial mask attempt, featuring an Indigenous thunderbird design, was greeted with controversy. The thunderbird mask was not created in collaboration with an Indigenous artist, which led many to criticize it for cultural appropriation. Holtby apologized, and committed to working with a Coast Salish artist on a new mask.

When Marston, a member of the Ladysmith-area Stz’uminus First Nation, first saw the thunderbird mask, he was surprised to learn an Indigenous artist wasn’t involved.

“It was cool that he wanted to put native art on his mask, but he just went about it the wrong way,” Marston said. “They just didn’t know that it’d be so offensive to people appropriating an art form like that.”

The new mask features a design inspired by the Coast Salish legend of the sea wolf — a pack of wolves that can transform into killer whales. Marston has said the story represents families travelling together, and hunting on land and sea.

“Every time I do something for somebody I talk about what they want. [Holtby] asked me to share some stories with him about different things. He wanted something that was more universal, legends that every one has,” Marston said.

“I started telling him about the orca — because of the Canucks and the orca — everyone on the coast kind of has a version of that. A lot of nations on the Island like Nuu-Chah-Nulth, Kwakwaka’wakw — up and down the coast everyone has a version of orcas transforming into wolves, and hunting the land and ocean in packs and pods.”

Marston asked if Holtby wanted to revisit the thunderbird design, but Holbty wanted to start with something new. Holtby was hooked by the legend of the sea wolf, as it’s a fitting metaphor for the Canucks as a team.

“That’s what he liked about it. I told him ‘you guys are on the hunt this year’,” Marston said.

RELATED: Boeser scores 2, Vancouver Canucks dump Edmonton 5-3 in NHL season opener

Both an away mask and a home mask are being designed. Each will feature unique Coast Salish designs. Marston hinted that the away mask may feature a Coast Salish eagle design.

Marston and the Canucks hoped to have the home mask ready for the NHL season opener against the Edmonton Oilers, but the mask is still being equipped with the proper protective padding. In a tweet, the Canucks said that the mask will ‘debut in games soon’.

Marston said that working on the goalie mask was a fun experience for him. When creating traditional masks the work is more serious. Working on Holtby’s mask gave him the opportunity to blend tradition with mainstream society.

“It was super fun and exciting. I was texting with Holtby, and talking to the Canuck’s brass about everything. Collaborating with David Gunnarsson was great. It’s not just me that did it, it was a collaboration between myself, Gunnarsson and Holtby.”

In 2015, Marston unveiled his Shore to Shore sculpture in Stanley Park, a 14-foot bronze-cast sculpture that honours the link between Portuguese and Coast Salish First Nations cultures. At the unveiling Marston met Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini.

When Marston saw the controversy around Holtby’s thunderbird mask, he reached out to Aquilini and offered to work on a new mask with authentic Coast Salish designs.

“I love that fact that Francesco, the Canucks, and everyone involved respect First Nations and our art form enough to correct this and address it,” Marston said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A power outage Thursday night left nearly 3,000 homes in Clinton and the 70 Mile areas in the dark. (Katie McCullough photo).
Nearly 3,000 homes in Clinton, 70 Mile left in the dark after vehicle crash into transmission pole

BC Hydro still working to restore power to 330 homes in 70 Mile House

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
115 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths in Interior Health

There are now a total of 4,970 cases in the region

Community consultation is now open regarding disposal of the former Ashcroft Elementary property, which since 2015 has operated as the Ashcroft HUB. (Photo credit: Vicci Weller)
Feedback now sought regarding disposal of Ashcroft Elementary

Residents of the region can have their say about the future of the former AES property

(from l) Ashcroft IDA store manager Irene Dumont; Christmas Hamper organizer Esther Lang; IDA staff Trish Lambert, Cheryl Scanlon, Tracey Nontell, Rod Schafer, Alicia Lake, Trina Michaud (behind Alicia), and Silvia Caston. IDA matched customer donations to the 2020 Christmas Hamper program. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
COVID couldn’t put a crimp in this year’s Christmas hamper program

171 hampers were distributed to families in Clinton, Cache Creek, Ashcroft, Spences Bridge

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. find its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Letisha Reimer died Nov. 1, 2016 after being stabbed at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
No evidence that killer was in ‘psychotic state’ during Abbotsford school stabbing: Crown

Second day of closing arguments at ‘not criminally responsible’ hearing for Gabriel Klein

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s. (Canadian Press file)
Full parole granted to former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse of boys

Alan Davidson convicted of abusing boys in B.C. and Saskatchewan in late ’70s, early ’90s

The first COVID-19 vaccine arrives in B.C. in temperature-controlled containers, Dec. 13, 2020. (B.C. government)
More vaccine arrives as B.C. struggles with remote COVID-19 cases

Long-term care homes remain focus for public health

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in 60 B.C. First Nations by next week

B.C. has allocated 25,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to First Nations for distribution by the end of February

Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone questions the NDP government in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 25, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Todd Stone says he’s not running for B.C. Liberal leadership

Kamloops MLA was widely viewed as a front-runner

Wireless voice and data services are out for those on Telus as of Thursday (Jan. 14) afternoon across Western Canada, Telus Support said in a recent Tweet. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATE: Telus services restored across Western Canada

Telus said they are monitoring the situation to ensure connections remain stable

Screenshot from video.
2 students arrested in assault of transgender girl at Lower Mainland school

Mother says daughter was targeted because of how she identifies

Most Read