This is the sixth installment of a spotlight series dedicated to the Indigenous players in the Western Hockey League. While typical player features include quotes to support the profile, this series will focus more on direct player quotes, rather than summarization, in an effort to prioritize the Indigenous communities’ voices and give them a platform to tell their stories. For more information about this series, click here.
“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” — Babe Ruth
The game is 1-0 in the Victoria Royals’ favor. It’s only the second period, and Carter Bear and the Everett Silvertips know they have plenty of time to pull ahead. Bear waits in front of the Royals’ net as Cade Zaplitny sails behind the net with the puck. Zaplitny sends it along the boards to Kaden Hammell, who catches and fires it in the blink of an eye. Bear, in the perfect position, knocks the puck out of the air and into the net.
Carter Bear, known by fans for his determination and hard work, is a forward for the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League. Just like his first WHL goal suggests, the young rookie does his best to put himself where he’s needed. By staying connected with his roots, embracing his new team, and taking on the WHL with an ambitious drive, Bear is working to set himself up for success.
“I’m proud of where I’m from. I’m proud of my culture. I’m proud of my family and my ancestors.”
Carter Bear is a member of Peguis First Nation, the largest First Nation community in Manitoba with a population of over 10,000. “I’m an Indigenous, First Nation,” Bear said, “from Peguis, Manitoba, where my two parents are from.”
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Bear grew up involved in several different sports, but stuck with hockey and lacrosse as he got older. “I grew up mostly in hockey, but I really enjoy playing lacrosse,” he said. “I still play lacrosse at my high school. I also played baseball, and obviously my main sport is hockey, but I’d say my second favorite is lacrosse.”
“My dad got me into hockey, really. He wanted me to do well in hockey because he played when he was younger. I’m pretty grateful for him because he turned his focus on me when I was growing up.”
As he’s gotten older, Bear pointed out that he’s noticed more support from people for Indigenous communities, whether it be in hockey or another context. Part of that awareness and support comes from things like awareness nights in sports or national holidays dedicated to these communities. “[Indigenous Peoples’ Day] is important because we get to show we’re proud of who we are and where we came from,” Bear said. “Awareness nights are good, especially when they raise money for positive things.”
“It means a lot to me to see other people, other kids like me, getting into hockey too. I love seeing them believe what they believe in and dream what they dream of.”
Bear was drafted in the sixth round, 132nd overall, by the Everett Silvertips in the 2021 WHL Bantam Draft, and signed with the team in June of 2022. “The growth to his game throughout the year was tremendous,” Silvertips Head Coach Dennis Williams said upon Bear’s signing. “Add in his high character off the ice and he fits in great with our program.”
Bear spent last season (2022-23) with the Winnipeg Thrashers U18 AAA team. Recording a stellar 59 points (32G-27A) in 31 games played, he earned MU18HL First-Team All-Star honors, and was named Winnipeg AAA U18 MVP and Top Forward. That same season, he made his WHL debut, taking the ice on November 18, 2022. He scored his first Western Hockey League goal on March 25, 2023.
With his first full season officially underway, Bear is already turning heads. In thirty games played, the rookie has amassed 21 points (11G-10A), and is projected to hit 48 total points by the end of the season. Noted as a “top offensive player” by Silvertips Assistant General Manager Mike Fraser, Bear has proven himself to be a very adaptable player, quickly adjusting to the WHL’s level of play.
As he makes his transition to being in the WHL full-time, Bear highlights the positive experience he’s had with the Silvertips organization so far. “I think the Silvertips do a good job of supporting me,” he said. “They have great people.”
The WHL doesn’t just have great staff supporting him—the league also has its fair share of role models for Bear, including teammate Austin Roest. “When I went to Everett for a couple of games [last season], I lived with [Roest],” he said. “I’m really grateful that he chose to live with me and let me stay with him. I try to follow what he does, what he eats, all that stuff. When he got drafted to Nashville I was pretty proud of him. I like to see what he does. I want to do that too.”
“And I’m excited to play against Conner Roulette,” he continued. “I kinda grew up with him, so it’ll be exciting to see him on the ice again, even if we’re on different teams.”
What’s Next For Bear
Having just turned seventeen, Bear has a lot ahead of him. He’ll be eligible in the 2025 NHL Draft, and until then, he has a promising career in the WHL to look forward to. The young forward is a hard worker, dedicated to his game and to making an impact on his team.
“I love this sport. It’s what I dream of, it’s what I love to do.”
Spotlight Series Features:
- Dwayne Jean Jr. (Red Deer Rebels)
- Conner Roulette (Spokane Chiefs)
- Ethan Makokis (Everett Silvertips)
- Deagan McMillan (Tri-City Americans)
- Jaxsin Vaughan (Regina Pats)