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Youth choir sings “O Canada” in Punjabi before NHL game in Winnipeg

Winnipeg
Students at Amber Trails Community School sang a heartfelt version of "O Canada" in Punjabi.

Some Winnipeg students made history on Saturday (December 16) before the hometown Jets played the Colorado Avalanche.

As part of South Asian Heritage Night, Amber Trails Community School chorus members sang the national anthem in Punjabi for the first time at a National Hockey League game. They also sang “O Canada” in English.

You can hear the Punjabi version below.

Watch a Winnipeg school youth choir sing “O Canada” in Punjabi.

The students’ performance thrilled many Canadians. However, it also ignited a minor backlash on X, formerly known as Twitter, from folks who couldn’t appreciate what these kids had done.

Punjabi is the fourth most-spoken language in Canada, according to 2021 census data. More than 500,000 Canadians speak Punjabi at home, ranking slightly behind Mandarin.

Meanwhile, the NHL has a large following among Punjabi speakers, many of whom watch Hockey Night in Canada in Punjabi.

It’s not the first time that “O Canada” has received an Indian twist at an NHL game. Below, you can see “O Canada” performed with a tabla and sarangi five years ago. This came before the Vancouver Canucks hosted the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Arena.

Listen to “O Canada” played with Indian instruments and electric guitars.

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Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith

Pancouver editor Charlie Smith has worked as a Vancouver journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

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We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.