Racial tensions are at an all-time high in the United States and it's no surprise that players in the National Hockey League are acutely aware of it. For Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds it's been even more apparent because he contrasts the situation around him with the one he grew up with.
In a recent interview with TSN's 590 Simmonds expressed his belief that while there is still some level of racism in the game, it hasn't served to hamper his progress, but rather has fuled his motivation.
“I don’t want to say it’s completely gone – racism in the game – because I believe it’s not,” began Simmonds as per Nichols on Hockey. “I’ve had situations arise where I’ve had things said to me or done to me, but I think for myself it’s kind of a motivator.
There was more positive to take from Simmonds interview, it was clear that while he believes there are very different outlooks on race when it comes to Canada compared to the United States, it was clear from his story that sports continue to unify people from all walks of life.
“Growing up in Canada, I think it was a little bit different. Obviously hockey is life in Canada. So you grow up as a young black kid and everyone is playing hockey around you, so it’s easy to get into. It wasn’t that tough. My dad is actually a big fan of hockey. I don’t know why. He never played hockey. But he was the first one to ever get me on skates.
“But I think it’s just easier in Canada. I think the States is kind of, as it’s going now – I don’t want to say it’s segregated, but I think you feel it a little bit more. You feel it a little bit more in the States, whereas in Canada it’s – especially in Toronto, it’s a melting pot. You’ve got every single culture. You’ve got everything here under the sun. It’s like a rainbow. You just don’t feel it as much when you’re growing up in Canada. And I moved to the States I started to notice it a little bit more, but I’m always around good people so it doesn’t have an effect on me.”