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

District of Vanderhoof municipal office. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof district rejects FOI request for business name

Officials will release more information about the restaurant on May 21

Audrey McKinnon is seeking the NDP nomination for the federal riding of Cariboo-Prince George. (Twitter)
Audrey McKinnon puts name forward for NDP for federal election

McKinnon preparing for a contested nomination for Prince George-Cariboo riding

Michael Rees at his studio on the first floor of the old Burrard Market Square building. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Painter and print-maker showcased at Vanderhoof Street Art Show

Michael Rees uses narrative in a majority of his work

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

The new 3,500 hectare conservancy in Tahltan territory is located next to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (BC Parks Photo)
New conservancy protects sacred Tahltan land near Mount Edziza Provincial Park

Project is a collaboration between Skeena Resources, conservation groups and the TCG

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed on April 4, according to a statement from police. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police name victim following city’s fourth homicide of 2021

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed Sunday in the Downtown Eastside

A man wears a face mask past the emergency department of the Vancouver General Hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Calls for stricter action in B.C. as COVID-19 variants projected to climb

Jens von Bergmann says the province has taken a ‘wait and see’ approach when early action is needed

Vancouver’s park board general manager issued a new order Friday restricting tents and other temporary structures from being set up in Strathcona Park after April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver park board issues order to restrict tents in Strathcona Park

The order issued Friday restricted tents and other temporary structures from being set up after April 30

Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning says the players who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 are recovering and the team still intends to play a 56-game season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Canucks players ‘mostly on the other side’ of COVID outbreak: general manager

The athletes have had a “whole range” of COVID-19 symptoms, said team physician Dr. Jim Bovard, but no one has needed to be hospitalized

Police are investigating after a man was shot Thursday, April 8 while sitting in a car in Vancouver. (Black Press files)
Man shot in Vancouver while sitting in a parked car: police

The victim is currently in critical condition. Police say no arrests have been made.

Teachers from SD42 and other districts in the Lower Mainland flocked to Surrey on Tuesday in the hopes of getting a COVID-19 vaccine. (Sheelagh Brothers/Twitter)
Don’t line up for vaccines unless asked to come, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

Social media post shows teachers lining up outside of Surrey clinic for leftover doses

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP is seeking public tips regarding a break-in that left multiple people injured in Vernon Saturday, March 6, 2021. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Cariboo teacher charged in child exploitation case

Charge laid against teacher at Peter Skene Ogden

Most Read