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From the ranch to the North Pole … and other icy surfaces

Clarence Pigeon

In the veins of Clarence Pigeon ran the blood of a rancher, just like his father Rosaire and his great-grandfather Joseph. With only four years of formal schooling, Clarence worked his way through several ranches, including the famous Gang ranch and OK ranch.

In 1942, Clarence enlisted in the Canadian Navy, and worked on ships patrolling the west coast. In 1945, he was hired as crewman of the wooden RCMP schooner St. Roch during the “Operation Musk Ox” expedition in the Northwest Passage. This was the largest military exercise ever held in the Canadian Arctic and the last of four military expeditions held in the region in the 1940s.

After the war, Clarence Pigeon worked on monolithic projects, building hydro dams at Hudson’s Hope and Revelstoke.

Man in military clothing on ship

Clarence Pigeon in military uniform on board the St. Roch, 1945

Man in Inuit clothing on board a ship

Clarence Pigeon in Inuit clothing on board the St. Roch, 1945









Joe Hicketts

Upper body of hockey player on the ice

Joe Hicketts, playing for the Detroit Red Wings, 2018

The lure of ice-covered surfaces also attracted Joe Hicketts, one of Rosaire’s descendants, but this time to hockey rinks. Originally from Kamloops, Hicketts represented Canada twice at the IIHF World Junior Championship, winning gold in 2015 and serving as alternate captain for the team in 2016. He played for the Detroit Red Wings and the Minnesota Wild, adding to the pride of the BC ranching community that still claims him as their own.