Tag Archives: APTN

Preview: Season 6 of Hit the Ice skates on to APTN

Last month, APTN debuted an excellent new documentary series from Nish Media called Skindigenous. Now Nish returns to APTN with the sixth season of Hit the Ice.

This 15-episode season of Hit the Ice, returning Saturday at noon ET on APTN, once again focuses on Indigenous midget and junior hockey players from across the country. The goal of these 16- to 18-year-olds? To showcase their skills in front of scouts from the Canadian Hockey League and U.S. universities in hopes of landing a spot on one of those teams. The squad’s head coach? Ex-NHL coach and player John Chabot—a member of the Kitigan Zibi First Nation—who played with the Montreal Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins, coached and assistant-coached for the New York Islanders and coached in the QMJHL.

Saturday’s return catches up with players as they undertake the first of a gruelling 14-day training camp at the Jonathan Toews Community Centre in Winnipeg. The open tryouts attract boys from across the country, including Tobias Commanda-Odjick, Cody Savey, Taylor Redmond and Corbin Mariash.

As for Chabot and his team of coaches, their aim is to get the players out of their comfort zone and see how they react. What’s supposed to be a light skate gets serious pretty quickly as the coaches lay down ground rules that set the tone for the rest of the day.

Hit the Ice is not only an opportunity for Indigenous youths to snag a place on a Canadian Hockey League team or at a U.S. university but the chance for viewers to gain some real insight into what it takes to be a hockey player in this country. It was a real education for this former summer soccer player to see the extensive drills, long hours and off-ice conditioning needed to break into an elite team. Kudos to the producers for including the office discussion between the coaches; their explanation and breakdown of not only the practices themselves but individual players’ strengths made for one heck of a great first of 15 episodes.

Hit the Ice airs Saturdays at noon ET on APTN.

Images courtesy of Jeff Griffin.




Preview: Skindigenous celebrates the heritage and importance of Indigenous tattoos

People who get tattoos usually do it for a reason. For some, it’s to salute a band or loved one. For others, it’s a way to express a mantra. For the folks documented in Skindigenous, it’s to remember the heritage of Indigenous people around the world.

Debuting Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET on APTN, Nish Media’s Skindigenous is a 13-part adventure that takes viewers into the lives of tattoo artists and their unique culture to discover the tools, techniques, symbols and traditions that shape their art. At its origins among ancient cultures, tattooing was only practiced by those with special standing in the community. Today, modern-day tattoo artists use their art to re-connect with the heritage of their ancestors and to ensure that their stories are not lost.

Gorgeously shot, Episode 1 travels to the green hills of the Philippines to visit a woman and her grandnieces who keep the ancient tattooing tradition alive. Forget the whirring needles and bottles of colour you see in any Canadian city; 100-year-old Whang-Od Oggay (pictured below) and grandniece Grace Palicas practice the hand-tapping technique handed down through generations of members of their Kalinga tribe. Dubbed “the islands of the painted ones,” by Spanish explorers 500 years ago, the Phillippines’ tattooing traditions, as Whang-Od explains, surrounded marking men who killed or wounded opponents during ancient tribal wars.

As narrator Candy Palmater outlines, Whang-Od’s first tattoos were made in the 1940s on those who had fought against the Japanese in the Second World War. Now nature serves as inspiration for Whang-Od’s art via stylized mountains, rivers, centipedes and python scales that signify spirituality and strength. Tattoos in this culture can represent a number of things, including beauty and social status. The show’s producers use CGI brilliantly, showing the intricacies of the tattoo patterns and key locations where they are placed on the body.

Thousands of tourists visit Whang-Od’s small town of Buscalan every year, injecting the local economy with much-needed money. Determined to keep the economy of the area up and continue her art after she passes, Whang-Od has taught grandnieces Grace and Elyang the old traditions. Made from charcoal scraped from the bottom of a cooking pot, placed in a coconut husk and mixed with water and sweet potato, the ink is applied using a thorn of the pomelo tree tapped against the skin.

Upcoming episodes of  Skindigenous travel to Indonesia, Alberta, New Zealand and Hawaii, continuing the stories and art of Indigenous tattoo artists.

Skindigenous airs Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. ET on APTN.

Images courtesy of Nish Media.





NFB and APTN enter into partnership to strengthen role of Indigenous Peoples and creators in the Canadian audiovisual industry

From a media release:

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and APTN announced today the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will pool the organizations’ efforts and expertise in implementing protocols, programs, training and other initiatives aimed at strengthening relations with Indigenous Peoples and creators. The MOU will have a lasting and positive impact on the Canadian production and distribution landscape and ensure these initiatives are more rapidly implemented. The agreement is the result of actions recently taken by each organization, particularly a three-year plan released by the NFB last June, entitled Redefining the NFB’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples (2017–2020), and the implementation of the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

“The NFB and APTN have a long history of working together. This MOU reflects our shared desire to build on what has already been achieved and ensures that the voices of Indigenous Peoples and creators can be heard in communities across the country. In doing so, we hope to help build a lasting legacy to hand down to current and future generations.” – Claude Joli-Coeur, Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the NFB

“APTN is proud to partner with the NFB by being part of a series of initiatives aimed at increasing the contribution and recognition of Indigenous Peoples and cultures to the Canadian film and television industry, in alignment with Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations. As the world’s first national Indigenous broadcaster promoting Indigenous talent for almost two decades, we look forward to sharing our journeys, our cultures and our stories with one of the key players in the Canadian media-production landscape.” – Jean La Rose, Chief Executive Officer, APTN

“The Government of Canada is delighted that the National Film Board of Canada is once again working together with APTN. This partnership, which is essential to reconciliation, will help diversify Indigenous productions and make the works of these artists even more accessible to Canadians.” – The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage

The partnership will primarily allow the organizations to:

  • pool their expertise to develop protocols regarding the access and use of archival materials in the NFB’s Indigenous collection and find ways to make this material more accessible to media artists;
  • develop production projects that make use of NFB documentary archival materials (stock footage, film clips and complete films) in new works that contextualize the content from an Indigenous viewpoint, thus taking a new critical and historical perspective;
  • help make the NFB’s Indigenous collections accessible through distribution, and work jointly through screenings similar to NFB’s Aabiziingwashi (Wide Awake) tour;
  • jointly develop internal protocols and best practices for the production and distribution of documentaries, animation and interactive/immersive works by Indigenous creators;
  • develop and implement hiring strategies grounded in best practices for onboarding, integrating, retaining and providing professional training to Indigenous employees;
  • develop and implement cultural competency training for NFB staff regarding Indigenous issues;
  • share audience-data analysis and research on reaching audiences.


Image of Jean La Rose (left) and Claude Joli-Cœur (right) courtesy of Doug Little.


Nish Media’s Hit the Ice returns for its sixth season on APTN

From a media release:

Hit The Ice returns for its sixth season. The 15-episode series features Midget and Junior Indigenous hockey hopefuls, from communities across the country, aged 16 to 18, as they are put through the paces of a real NHL style training camp by a team led by ex-NHL coach and player John Chabot. This year, for the first time ever, hopefuls had the chance to try out either via virtual video or in person in Winnipeg.

Premieres on March 10 on APTN e and APTN hd at 12:00 p.m. ET, APTN w at 10:00 a.m. MT and APTN n at 11:00 a.m CT. The Cree version of the show began on February 7.

The players are tested and put through various hockey drills and other physical challenges during the camp in Winnipeg. Unfortunately, like the pros, the players then go through cuts and watch some of their group released until the final roster is determined.

The 20 remaining prospects then experience the challenges of an NHL calibre training camp featuring physical training, on ice drills and different team building activities which make them grow not only as a team but also as men. Their ultimate payoff is to showcase their skills playing against a Team Made in Manitoba under the scrutinizing eyes of real-life Junior hockey scouts from the Canadian Hockey League as well as U.S. universities. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that few young players will ever get to experience.

The coaching & training team is led by ex-NHL coach and player John Chabot, a member of the Kitigan Zibi First Nation, who returns as head coach of the camp. Chabot played with the Canadiens, Red Wings and Penguins and had coached & assistant-coached for the Islanders as well as in the QMJHL. His team includes:

Assistant Coaches
Ron Choules, currently a coach with the Gatineau Olympiques; was the Assistant Coach for Team Canada U-18; played in the QMJHL, drafted by the Maple Leafs.

Pat Loyer, currently president of the Calgary Canucks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League; coached in the WHL and various Junior A teams; played in Major Junior for the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Alfie Michaud, Ojibwe, currently the goalie coach for the University of Maine’s hockey team; goaltended for the Canucks, the Danish Sonderjyske Ishockey and in the AHL.

Carrie Peters, a strength and conditioning coach and fitness instructor will take care of the off-ice training.

Guest Coaches
Mark Stone (Ottawa Senators player)

Calvin Pickard (currently Vegas Golden Knights player, formerly Colorado Avalanche)

Travis Hamonic, Métis (currently Calgary Flames player, formerly with NY Islanders)

Joe Cramorossa (currently Stockton Heat/AHL player, formerly with Anaheim Ducks, Vancouver Canucks)

Brandon Montour, Six Nations of the Grand River (Anaheim Ducks player).

Dr. Adrienne Leslie-Toogood, a University of Manitoba sports psychologist.

J.P. Vigier, a former NHL player (Atlanta Thrashers) and coach.

Brad McEwen, an NHL scout with the Calgary Flames. Brad will lead the player evaluation and selection process for Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence for the 2018 World Junior Championship.

R.T. Rice, the Hit the Ice alumnus who has been invited to attend the Vancouver Canucks’ development camp.

Dan Girardin MPT, BESS, is the physiotherapist for the team.

Over the years, Hit The Ice has demonstrated its positive impact on young Indigenous hockey players with many of them now playing in the WHL, QMJHL and the OHL. Everyone’s hope is to one day see one of the players reach their goal of playing in the NHL.

About Nish Media
The series is produced by Nish Media, a multi-award-winning production company based in the Ottawa-Gatineau area. Over the past ten years, producer Jason Brennan has produced over 200 hours of television for various networks such as APTN, CBC, Radio-Canada, Ici ArtV, Canal D, TV5 and CBC Docs, including Mouki, Wapikoni, La Fosse aux tigres and six seasons of Hit The Ice, nominated in prestigious television festivals including the Banff World Media Festival and Italy’s FICTS. Its first feature film, “Le Dep”, was selected to play in several film festivals including the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in the Czech Republic, the Vancouver Film Festival, the Raindance Film Festival, ImagineNative and the American Indian Film Festival. Nish Media is currently adapting Marc Séguin’s novel Nord Alice for film, as well as producing Sonia Bonspille Boileau’s next feature film Rustic Oracle.


Critically-acclaimed North of 60 returns to the airwaves on APTN

From a media release:

Several generations grew up watching the popular series North of 60, before it left the TV screen a little over a decade ago. Today, fans are still enthralled with the drama.

“APTN regularly receives phone calls, letters and social media posts from fans asking us to bring back North of 60,” said Jean La Rose, APTN CEO. “When the show originally aired in 1992 it became the most popular series in Canadian history, drawing almost a million viewers per week. It’s apparent that fans miss the show and would love to see it back on the air. APTN has been listening and is thrilled to bring the show back to Canadian television!”

The entire series—six seasons, all 90 episodes—will air in consecutive order starting Monday, February 19. Daily episodes Monday through Friday, airing on APTN e and APTN hd at 5:00 p.m. ET, and on APTN w at 5:00 p.m. MT and APTN n at 1:00 p.m. CT. Fans who prefer a weekly rendezvous can also tune-in on Sundays, starting February 25, on APTN e and APTN hd at 7:00 p.m. ET, APTN w at 7:00 p.m. MT and APTN n at 7:00 p.m. CT.

North of 60 was one of the first shows that represented Indigenous Peoples in a real way. Day-to-day life was highlighted along with issues that mattered most including cultural preservation. It was the first time an Indigenous person was cast as the lead in a Canadian television drama, and the show launched many careers.

The super fans of North of the 60 do not falter, even after all these years. An online petition garnered more than 1,500 signatures and a Facebook page with 4,000 subscribers, including actors from the show, to bring the show back to the screen.

North of 60 was created and produced by Barbara Samuels and Wayne Grigsby, starring Tina Keeper, Tom Jackson, Tracey Cook, Gordon Tootoosis and Gerry Bean (John Oliver).