Dalton Walker
Indian Country Today

Veteran NHL goalie Carey Price is four wins away from hoisting hockey’s ultimate prize.

The Ulkatcho First Nations star from Anahim Lake, British Columbia, has led the Montréal Canadiens to its first Stanley Cup Final in nearly 30 years. The Cup final is the first for Price, who was drafted by the team with the No. 5 pick in 2005, after reaching the semifinals twice in 2010 and 2014.

Price, 33, has 360 career NHL wins and is the winningest goalie in team history, multiple league goaltender awards, even an Olympic gold medal representing team Canada.

Sports Illustrated described Price’s playoff run as “near-perfect,” and “nobody” expected Montreal to reach the finals.

“If Montreal ends up winning the Stanley Cup, it's hard to think anyone but him would be the one holding the Conn Smythe when everything is said and done,” the article read. The Conn Smyth award goes to the most valuable player in the playoffs.

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Hockey is known for its Indigenous talent.

Indigenous athletes have made an impact on the ice for decades. The late Fred Sasakamoose, Cree, considered the first Indigneous hockey player to reach the NHL, six-time Stanley Cup winner Bryan Trottier, Métis, and legendary coach Ted Nolan, Ojibwe, to name a few. Edmonton Oilers defenseman Ethan Bear, Cree, wore a team jersey in an exhibition game in 2020 that spelled out his name in Cree syllabics.

The Canadiens have been the lower seed throughout their playoff matchups, opened as fourth seed in one of the four four-team brackets. Montreal beat the No. 1 Toronto Maple Leafs in seven games in the first round, swept the No. 3 Winnipeg Jets in four games in the second round and took down another top seed, Vegas Golden Knights, in six games to advance to the Cup final.

Next, the defending Stanley Cup champions, Tampa Bay Lightning. And of course, the Lightning are favored. Price and his team open up the seven-game series in Tampa Bay on Monday before returning to Montreal on Friday for game 3.

Price said the team never considered themselves to be underdogs, according to a NHL.com report.

"Honestly, we wouldn't be here right now if we didn't believe," he said. "We've always stuck with it. No doubting ourselves."

Follow Price on his Facebook page and on his website.

Here’s how to watch Price and the Canadiens:

2021 NHL playoff schedule: Stanley Cup Final (* if necessary)

  • Game 1: Mon. June 28: Canadiens at Lightning, 8 p.m. ET (NBCSN / Peacock) (CBC, CBCSports.ca)
  • Game 2: Wed. June 30: Canadiens at Lightning, 8 p.m. ET (NBCSN / Peacock) (CBC, CBCSports.ca)
  • Game 3: Fri. July 2: Lightning at Canadiens, 8 p.m. ET (NBC / Peacock) (CBC, CBCSports.ca)
  • Game 4: Mon. July 5: Lightning at Canadiens, 8 p.m. ET (NBC / Peacock) (CBC, CBCSports.ca)
  • *Game 5: Wed. July 7: Canadiens at Lightning, 8 p.m. ET (NBC / Peacock) (CBC, CBCSports.ca)
  • *Game 6: Fri. July 9: Lightning at Canadiens, 8 p.m. ET (NBC / Peacock) (CBC, CBCSports.ca)
  • *Game 7: Sun. July 11: Canadiens at Lightning, 7 p.m. ET (NBC / Peacock) (CBC, CBCSports.ca)
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