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

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
211 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

Currently, there are 875 active cases of the virus in the region

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. As of April 19, more than 230,000 doses have been administered across the Interior Health region. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
More than 230K doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered across Interior Health

A total of 220,216 first doses and 13,775 second doses have been given to residents across the B.C. Interior

Staff and residents from RMV show their appreciation for the volunteers who enrich their lives. From left to right: Shelley Moulton, Darlene Hutchinson, Betty Schanni, Mark Hudock, Victor Myette, Elinor Siska, Melissa Roger, Anita Braconnier. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
‘We can’t wait for you to come back’: Rocky Mountain Village residents show appreciation for volunteers

Volunteers can’t make in-person visits, but that hasn’t stopped them staying in touch

Members of the community garden hosted their first seed swap and fundraiser at the Greenwood Mall in Sparwood on Monday. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Sparwood Community Garden hosts first seed swap

Work on the garden at Engelmann Spruce Drive will begin soon

Crews and volunteers responded to a four-hectare wildfire on the lower half of the Aqam community lands near Cranbrook on Friday afternoon. Trevor Crawley photo.
Wildfire season gets early start in the East Kootenay

Fire crews, volunteers respond to two local wildfires, while prescribed burns turn weekend skies smoky

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
B.C. health authority seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

Chakalaka Bar and Grill plans to continue serving customers without public health compliance

Kimberley's Steve Tersmette has published Waterfall Hikes In Southern British Columbia, documenting 100 of the areas waterfalls.
Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. to open up AstraZeneca vaccines for all people 40+, set up clinics in hot spots

A total of 13 neighbourhoods and communities will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

Most Read