Earlier this year, a 13-year-old hockey player named Divyne Apollon II faced racist taunts from opponents. The defender for the U14 Metro Maple Leafs hockey club was called the n-word and told to “go play basketball.”
His teammates stood up for him during the game and after by creating patches with a hockey stick crossing out the word “racism” that they wore during games.
Wednesday morning, the team got a video from Capitals players Devante Smith-Pelly and John Carlson inviting the team to Monday’s game against the St. Louis Blues and to a meet and greet after.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 9, 2019
“We heard about the unfortunate incidents that have been taking place with Divyne. But we were so happy to see your team stand up to defend and support each other,” Smith-Pelly said in the video.
“To show our support and to reward you all for showing the true meaning of a hockey family, we would like to invite your entire team to the game on January 14th,” Carlson said.
The Maple Leafs coach leading the session said after the video that for him “it’s a big thing for me and Divyne being black players.”
“For me to meet him [Divyne] and look him in the face as someone who’s gone through it and can talk to him and share my experience is important to me,” Smith-Pelly told Taryn Bray of WashingtonCaps.com. “It’s a pretty gross thing to be happening.”
DSP’s outreach comes at a time when PK Subban is also reaching out to players who have faced racist taunts.
Subban recently recorded a video for Ty Cornett, who faced such intense racism he considered leaving the sport.
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