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

The St. Mary Wycliffe elk herd has been using the land within Kimberley city limits as a calving ground. Bulletin file
Kimberley Council votes for additional protection for elk calving grounds within city limits

The city will not support any recreational trail development in that area

A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
4 more deaths, 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

This brings the total to 66 deaths in the region

Ryan Bennett, who played three seasons with the Kimberley Dynamiters, has signed on to the Humboldt Broncos. Paul Rodgers file.
Kimberley Dynamiter Ryan Bennett signs on with Humboldt Broncos

After three seasons with the Kimberley Dynamiters, Cranbrook’s Ryan Bennett is the… Continue reading

Rob Davidson, manager at Buckhorn and Main, created a Facebook group which has connected people and given them a positive distraction throughout the lockdown. Paul Rodgers photo.
Rob Davidson’s Facebook food group a positive, connecting presence throughout pandemic

Since the pandemic hit and lockdown began, people have been in need… Continue reading

Last year's King and Queen of Flannel Fest Tim and Simone. This year's event will be held via Facebook live due to COVID-19 and will take place on Feb. 13. Paul Rodgers file.
Flannel Fest to be held virtually this year

One of Kimberley’s most popular annual events, Flannel Fest, is moving into… Continue reading

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Interior Health reported two more COVID-19 deaths at Sunnybank Retirement Center in Oliver Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 claims lives of two more South Okanagan care home residents

Five residents of the Oliver care home have died since the outbreak was first declared

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

Most Read