The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, announced that each of its 12 teams playing in week 6 will wear a specially designed orange “Every Child Matters” warm up shirts during the weekend of January 6-8th. Part of the recently launched NLL Unites, the league continues its Community and Social Responsibility programs throughout the 2021-22 season.
NLL Unites launched in Fall 2021, as the league’s first-ever leaguewide Corporate Social Responsibility initiative. The NLL Unites logo pays homage to the sport’s indigenous roots. The design depicts two early forms of the lacrosse stick, positioned in such a way as to form a heart that sits aside "NLL Unites". The sole purpose of the icon logo is to pay respects to all who have grown the game, continue to grow the game, and that will grow the game, no matter their background.
Starting week 1 in Halifax, when the Thunderbirds wore custom Every Child Matters orange game jerseys, NLL players have been wearing the leftward-facing palm print and feathers design logo as a helmet decal throughout the season. During the Sports Interaction Game of the Week on TSN there will be a halftime feature on the Residential Schools.
The Every Child Matters logo was created by Dave Sowden, Equipment Manager, and Charlie Ragusa, Director of Digital Media. It pays tribute to those who attended Indigenous Residential Schools, as well as the children who are being discovered at the various residential schools across Canada and boarding schools throughout the US who didn't make it home as well. “This is a perfect time for a professional sport, particularly the National Lacrosse League to spread awareness and foster Truth and Reconciliation across our country,” said Dave Sowden from the Halifax Thunderbirds’ and teacher on the Six Nations Reserve (Oliver M. Smith Kaweniio Elementary). “If not for the resiliency of First Nations people across Canada and the United States, we may not be enjoying the fact that we can take part in the medicine game -spectators, players, coaches, and everyone else who helps to bring a game together.”
• Handprint - represents the uniqueness of every individual
• Orange - comes from the story of a survivor who obtained an orange shirt in hopes of wearing it while attending a residential school. She soon learned that she was to dress like everyone else and expected to wear the provided clothing
• Feathers - represent indigenous culture
Fans will also be able to purchase cotton versions of the shirt through the league’s online stores NLLShop.com and Fanatics.ca. For every shirt sold, the NLL will make a donation to Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund in Canada and The National Native American Board School Healing Coalition in the United States.
Select NLL team arenas (Buffalo, Rochester, and Albany) and merchandise locations will also have the commemorative shirts available for sale.
“This presents an opportunity for the NLL, its teams and its players to unify and show our commitment to educating our fans about their shared commitment to recognizing the history of residential and boarding schools, and supporting Indigenous causes,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “We are proud to include this program in NLL Unites as another initiative in our continued education of the Indigenous culture and of the people who created the great game of lacrosse.”
“The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund is thrilled that the National Lacrosse League is demonstrating their support of Indigenous Peoples and reconciliation not only with a donation but through their visibility,” said Kayleigh Jordan-MacGregor, Development Associate, the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund. “By wearing orange warmup shirts, they help amplify the voices of Survivors of residential schools and draw attention to this important piece of our history.”