The sad spectacle of racism in the Ukrainian Hockey League (UHL) last week stunned the imagination and was condemned across North America. Glad that hockey player Andrei Deniskin’s gesture to Galen Smrick shocked a lot of people, Anthony Duclair would like to create a downside: this kind of situation doesn’t just happen in Ukraine.
A founding member of the Diversity Hockey Alliance [HDA]), whose goal is to ensure inclusion in hockey, as well as education to sensitize young people to issues of race and diversity, Duclerc was shocked to see the punishment imposed on Deniskin.
The UHL imposed three suspension games on him plus an additional 10 games which would not apply if he agreed to pay a fine equivalent to about $2,500.
“It’s a disgrace,” said the Florida Panthers striker in a phone interview with Newspaper, Monday. In addition, they fired the league’s general manager for speaking out against racism. When I see that, I think of all the young people from the minorities who play hockey. This type of behavior occurs every day. People reacted a lot because the shots in Ukraine were captured on video, but it happens more often than you can imagine, especially in a small game of hockey. “
work to do
Duclair has spoken with Smereck over the past few days. The two athletes met at the Arizona Coyotes.
“She is a very respectable person. He is very frustrated with the comment. He is there, in Ukraine, on his own and has no real support. From our side, we will support him until the end. I respect his decision not to play. There may not be any results right away, but I hope that That changes things.”
And speaking of shaking things up, the Panthers Wing is making some progress in North America. But we are still far from cup to lip.
“It’s getting better, but it’s not perfect. For example, last week Matt Domba and I attended a Zoom meeting with a 13-year-old from Ohio who encountered racist comments at hockey. It touches me because it also happened to me when I was young. These guys have The impression that they are out of place. The person we spoke to felt that he made a mistake because he was stopped after defending himself.”
Because of this, HDA was created in June 2020 by nine players of color, active or retired, including Duclair, Dumba, Nazem Kadri and Wayne Simmonds.
“With my status as an NHL player, I feel I have a responsibility when I hear things like this happen. When you talk to young people, they are often intimidated and don’t talk much, but at least it sends them a clear message. Too often, parents thank us because they see how impactful That’s on them. Whenever I get the chance to help, I want to do it because it reminds me of what I went through in my youth.”
Proud of his friend Jonathan Drouin
Anthony Dockler skated with Jonathan Drouin before their respective training camps began, and his remark is clear: “He looks amazing.”
The friendship between hockey players goes back to the young hockey years. The two, from Lac-Saint-Louis Lions, grew up together until their tracks at QMJHL parted.
However, they continue to ski together during the summer seasons.
“We can never doubt his talent and vision for the game. He is an outstanding player. The Canadian will have a good squad this year and Jonathan will play with good players. I expect him to produce a lot.”
Even if they don’t see each other often, they remain good friends. Doclear was also one of the franchisees with whom Darwin shared his story, before doing so in the public arena a few weeks ago.
“I was in touch with him during qualifying last year. To take that break, it was a good decision to come back strong. Hockey culture means we have learned to be so harsh. What Jonathan did shows that it is correct to say that you are going through certain things. Although we are professional hockey players, we have feelings. I hope this inspires others to speak frankly about these things. “
Doclear is aware of the criticism his dear friend has faced over the past few seasons. According to him, there is one thing that no one can blame: his passion for hockey.
“He’s a guy who loves hockey and plays with the Canadians. I remember when we played together, we just talked about the day we’ll play together in Montreal. He’s a source of great pride for Kibecker.”
For his part, he might not be in Montreal, but Duclair got a nice sign of trust from the Panthers, who gave him a three-season contract that earns him $3 million a year.
According to him, all hopes are in order in Florida this season.
“We surprised a lot of people in the playoffs against Tampa Bay last year. This summer, we added some important pieces. We will try to learn from last year’s experience. One thing is for sure, this is the most talented team I have played with.”
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