“It all started with figure skating. I used to go watch my sister figure skate so when I was about two-years-old my mom made me start as well. I always got made fun of by the hockey guys but now I’m kind of laughing at them. I think my mom just had an idea that if I was a good skater, then it would help me down the road with hockey. She told me she wouldn’t get me a stick until I could skate to her liking. It took me a little while to get that first stick, but once I did, I ran away with it.”
“Representing team USA lived up to every expectation I had and more. It was surreal. When you’re in a locker room and the coach says, ‘This is bigger than you,’ it really hits hard. It’s always been a goal of mine and I’m proud that I achieved it. I loved every minute of playing for team USA and I’m hoping I can do it again.”
“Recently I had a very defining moment. I was drafted last year by the Minnesota Wild in the sixth round. For me, I thought I was going to get drafted a lot higher. I was projected to go anywhere from 35th-100th so I was surprised to go in the sixth round. It’s motivated me to lock in and prove myself. I’ve got a chain around my neck that says where I got drafted. Everyday I look at it and remember. Now it’s time to prove to everyone that was drafted ahead of me that I can be a top player in the league.
“Since the time I was little I was usually the only Black hockey player on the team. For me that difference didn’t really kick in until I started playing overseas and people would call me names on the ice. It made me realize that I have a special opportunity. I’ve got to do my best to prove to everyone that Black people do belong in hockey and pave the way for others to follow. It’s powerful and I’m honored to know that I can make a difference in people’s lives. I think it helps me hold myself to a high standard for those that may be watching. Being Black in hockey is not a burden, it’s one of the greatest motivations and blessings I have.”
“I’m a huge sports fan, and I’ve always wanted to start a podcast and share people’s stories. So finally, over quarantine, a few buddies and I decided to start Coast to Coast podcast and honestly, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’ve gotten to talk to guys like Adam Schefter, Keenan Reynolds, and other athletes that have played on the biggest stages in sports. The coolest part about it is it is just hearing about how genuine people are. I’ve loved every second of it. I think everyone should give it a listen because it’s powerful to get a glimpse into someone’s life.”
“For anyone that wants to play hockey, you’ve just got to give it your all. I learned at a young age that you can’t listen to what other people are saying about you. When I was younger, I lost my love for the game a bit. I just got too focused on the numbers and it took me a while to rekindle that fire inside of me. I finally realized that it’s not about everyone around you, it’s about you so go out there and have a good time for yourself. If you don’t love it then don’t force it, but if you do, then run with it.”