One has insane stick-handling skills, the other teaches kids how to be leaders on and off the basketball court and both have been named “Local Spartans” by Xbox Canada, in a row. campaign highlighting those who are making a difference in their communities.
The youngest is hockey player Washiiyeh Jeannotte, 10, a member of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, about 300 kilometers northwest of Montreal. He has amassed a large following on social media for his stick handling skills.
Washiiyeh’s father Andrew Jeannotte said the appointment came as a surprise, but hopes it will inspire more kids to follow their passions.
“It is always [about] the youth. We are always looking, Wash and I, to motivate other children, other parents to show that nothing is impossible, âsaid Andrew Jeannotte.
Washiiyeh travels two or more hours to train and play with his AA Atoms team in Gatineau, Que.
âKeep working hard, keep rectifying, and good things will happen,â said Andrew Jeannotte.
Michael Linklater, a retired professional basketball player from Thunderchild First Nation in Saskatchewan, was also nominated for Youth Motivation.
Linklater said it was an honor to be nominated.
âGrowing up, I rarely saw positive representation among indigenous peoples,â he said.
âSo, you know, all the kids who play Xbox and are First Nations or Indigenous will have the opportunity to see this and aspire to do something good in their life. “
Linklater is working with the Saskatoon Public Schools Foundation on a literacy campaign. Other initiatives he has been involved in include Boys with Braids and the founding of Prime Basketball Development, both focused on indigenous youth.
âI think about my education and some of the opportunities that I had, as well as some of the opportunities that I would have liked to have,â he said.
“These are some of the things I want to get involved in that will have a direct impact and benefit our future generations.”
Highlight the heroes
The local Spartans have been nominated by Xbox fans on their social media, said Christina Verdurmen, Xbox Marketing Manager at Microsoft Canada, in an emailed statement to CBC News.
She said the goal was to introduce members of the community who shared the heroic values ââof the main character in their new game.
âWe chose six unique stories to highlight,â she said.
“These didn’t have to be monumental stories, but rather, we wanted to show the impact of how everyday actions can make a difference in someone’s life. Everyone has the power to be a hero.”