He’s an author, public speaker, and entrepreneur as the creator of Neechie Gear, but perhaps most of all, the story of Kendal Netmaker is a testament to hard work and perseverance, as told in his biography, Driven to Succeed.
Originally from the Sweetgrass First Nation, Netmaker grew up in a single-parent home with his mother and three younger sisters.
Since he was just a boy, Netmaker has embodied a love for sport that seems to have come innately, he said. However, due to his family’s financial restrictions and far-off living situation, Netmaker was, for a long time, unable to take part in extracurricular sports after school.
All of that changed in Grade 5 when Netmaker made a friend whose kinship and generosity would forever change his life.
Attending school in Cut Knife, Sask., Netmaker befriended a boy named Johan, from the neighbouring town of Atton Lake.
Netmaker said of all the kids in school, Johan was the only one to ask him why he would not stay after school to play sports. Upon sharing his circumstances, Johan and his family stepped up and reached out to afford him the opportunity to take part in, and pursue, his passion.
“We told his parents that night, and the next day, they started giving me rides to Sweetgrass,” Netmaker said. “They would drop me off; they paid for my fees, and really gave me my first opportunity to play organized sports, and that one thing; it created a ripple effect in my life.”
Ripple it did, leading the now successful businessman to university where sport remained a big part of his life, and eventually, to starting his own athletic clothing brand, Neechie Gear, which Netmaker still runs today.
When asked about his book, he said the goal was to inspire and help others realize they too can transform their lives, regardless of where they came from.
“I wrote the book as a way to try to help people,” he said. “I have always felt like I had something within me to share with people to try to help them, and take them from where they are to where they can be in their lives.”
Netmaker added how he hopes his story can act as a guide to those who need it, and give hope to those in need.
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