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Sandi Rankaduwa’s Ice Breakers premieres September 28 at the Montreal International Black Film Festival. As the Montreal Canadiens prepare to kick off a new season, this short NFB doc takes audiences inside hockey’s hidden Black roots in the Maritimes.


September 24, 2019 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada

Sandi Rankaduwa’s short NFB documentary Ice Breakers—uncovering the buried history of Black hockey pioneers—makes its Quebec premiere at the Montreal International Black Film Festival on Saturday, September 28, at 9 p.m. at the Cinéma du Parc, as part of a program of short films.

The 15-minute doc focuses on Josh Crooks, a promising teen hockey star in a sport where Black players like him are chronically underrepresented. Rankaduwa takes audiences inside the hidden history of a trailblazing Black league in Atlantic Canada, as Crooks discovers that his unshakable passion is tied to a rich and remarkable heritage.

“There’s a pervading myth that hockey is a white man’s sport. Today, hockey players of colour from all levels, children to pros, are still met with racial slurs and worse. But the truth is that many pillars in the foundation of hockey aren’t white. We’ve been fed a history that is infuriatingly inaccurate and I’m hoping this documentary can help change that. By paying homage to the Coloured Hockey League of the Maritimes, this film will hopefully reframe how we see hockey while also telling athletes of colour that they not only have a place on the ice, but they’re part of a sports legacy,” said Rankaduwa.

Sandi Rankaduwa is a Sri Lankan-Canadian writer, filmmaker, and comedian who splits her time between Brooklyn and Halifax. She was named one of three BuzzFeed Emerging Writer Fellows for 2018. Ice Breakers is her third film.

Ice Breakers is produced by Rohan Fernando and executive produced by Annette Clarke for the Quebec and Atlantic Studio’s Re-Imagining Nova Scotia initiative in Halifax.


Related Products

Electronic Press Kit | Images, trailers, synopses: Ice Breakers

Associated Links

Montreal International Black Film Festival
Cinéma du Parc

Media Relations

  • About the NFB

    Founded in 1939, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is a one-of-a-kind producer, co-producer and distributor of distinctive, engaging, relevant and innovative documentary and animated films. As a talent incubator, it is one of the world’s leading creative centres. The NFB has enabled Canadians to tell and hear each other’s stories for over eight decades, and its films are a reliable and accessible educational resource. The NFB is also recognized around the world for its expertise in preservation and conservation, and for its rich and vibrant collection of works, which form a pillar of Canada’s cultural heritage. To date, the NFB has produced more than 14,000 works, 6,500 of which can be streamed free of charge at nfb.ca. The NFB and its productions and co-productions have earned over 7,000 awards, including 11 Oscars and an Honorary Academy Award for overall excellence in cinema.