Divyne Apollon’s Metro Maple Leafs and Baltimore’s Banners face-off against hate

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BALTIMORE – Good deeds and goodwill continue to flow following the racist on-ice taunts that Washington, D.C.-area hockey player Divyne Apollon II suffered in December, an episode that drew national attention.

Apollon and his mostly-white Metro Maple Leafs of Odenton, Maryland, traveled to nearby Baltimore Sunday for a Scrimmage Against Hate with the city’s  mostly-black Banners youth hockey program.

The Banners reached out to the Maple Leafs after hearing about how Divyne, who is black, was taunted with monkey noises by members of a suburban Philadelphia hockey team during a tournament.

Baltimore’s Banners and the Washington, D.C.-area Metro Maple Leafs surround Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh after their Scrimmage Against Hate (Photo/Courtesy Bill Smillie).

Banners officials also invited the Old York Road Raiders, to participate in Sunday’s event but said they never received a response from the club.

So the Banners and Maple Leafs squared off in what was billed as a friendly exhibition that quickly turned into a friendly rivalry game. The Maple Leafs defeated the Banners 5-3 at Baltimore’s Mimi DiPietro Family Skating Center.

“Our kids never get this much excitement, usually they never get anybody to watch them play,” said Antoine Green, a volunteer for the non-profit Banners. “They wanted to show they can play.”

“It was fun, there was a lot of competition out there,” added 17-year-old Banners defenseman Daryo Fletcher. “We played our best. We just came up short.”

Metro Maple Leafs defenseman Divyne Apollon II in action against the Banners of Baltimore (Photo/Courtesy of Tiara Green).

The Banners certainly impressed Maple Leafs Head Coach Brad Howington, who said his team was fortunate to leave Baltimore with a win against a less-experienced but very determined opponent.

“That team gave us a run for our money,” Howington said. “They definitely could skate, their goalie was really, really good. They came out and played.”

And folks came out to watch. Banners and Maple Leafs supporters packed the metal bleachers inside the chilly domed rink and cheered the players on. The Scrimmage Against Hate’s message attracted the local media and some of Baltimore’s elected officials, including Mayor Catherine Pugh.

“What I saw out there was people who care about each other,” Pugh said. “You heard that at the end of the game. The young people, when they reached across to the other team, said ‘We’re family.'”

The mayor echoed the sentiments of the Maple Leafs players who rallied around Divyne after they learned that he had been racially taunted.

Their response and Divyne’s story became national news. Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly and defenseman John Carlson were so impressed by way Maple Leafs players stood up for their teammate that they invited the entire team to the Caps’ home game against the St. Louis Blues on January 14.

Players from the Banners of Baltimore and the Metro Maple Leafs chase the puck during a Scrimmage Against Hate Sunday in Baltimore (Photo/Courtesy Tiara Green),

Maple Leafs players and parents said they want to continue speaking up and speaking out against racism in hockey, and they were thrilled when the Banners called and suggested the scrimmage.

The 15-year-old Banners program focuses on East Baltimore’s at-risk youth and scrapes by season after season largely through donations – monetary and equipment –  and the dedication of volunteers and coaches.

With limited funds, the team only practices on ice for an hour each week and only plays one or two games a season. Hockey is an expensive sport for families of means, and more so for those who don’t have.

“There are folks here who have taken in children who are homeless, and there are children out here without fathers,” Pugh said. “So they represent more than just a team, it’s a family.”

Banners players meet with Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh at the Scrimmage Against Hate skate Sunday (Photo/Courtesy Bill Smillie).

The was evident at the game’s opening face-off. Ian Thomas, a former Banners player and now a tight end for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, dropped the puck.

“This feels good. When I played, we only had one official game against a team in D.C.,” Thomas said. “For us to still be going as a unit, a Baltimore City hockey team, it’s great to see.”

Tammi Lynch agreed. She’s the Metro Maple Leafs hockey mom who designed a sticker with the word “racism” and a red hockey stick slashed across it after she heard about the racial abuse Divyne was experiencing on ice.

She hopes that Sunday’s game will help shine a spotlight on the Banners program and generate more contributions from the hockey community and more assistance from Baltimore City’s powers that be to enhance the program.

“Hopefully we can get something going, to help make change,” she said. “These kids (Banners) should have the opportunities.  They’re the same as the other kids, but they don’t have the same access, which they should.”

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Mason Alderson Biddulph and Great Britain win bronze at IIHF championship

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Another International Ice Hockey Federation world championship tournament, another medal for Great Britain’s Mason Alderson Biddulph.

Alderson Biddulph and Team Great Britain won the Bronze Medal at the six-nation 2019 IIHF U20 World Championship Division II Group A tournament recently in Tallin, Estonia. Home team Estonia won the Gold Medal while Lithuania captured the Silver.

Mason Alderson Biddulph shows off the hardware won at the IIFH U20 World Championship Division II Group A tournament in Estonia (Photo/Hendrik Soots)

The 17-year-old forward from London was Great Britain’s seventh-leading scorer in the tournament with 1 goal and 5 assists in five games.

He was a member of the Team GB squad that won gold last year at the IIHF U18 World Championship Division II Group A tourney that was also held in Tallin.

Great Britain’s Mason Alderson Biddulph in action against Lithuania (Photo/Hendrik Soots).

Alderson Biddulph is the son of  Brian Biddulph, a rugged defenseman who played in Great Britain from 1982-83 to 1999-00 for teams in Streatham, Slough, Peterborough and Lee Valley.

Mason Alderson Biddulph representing queen and country at recent IIHF tournament in Estonia (Photot/Hendrik Soots).

The younger Biddulph is playing most of his hockey in North America this season as a member of the Islanders Hockey Club, a U.S. Premier Hockey League team in Tyngsborough, Massachusetts. He has 2 goals and 3 assists in 18 games with the Isles.

Great Britain’s Bronze Medal-winning U20 national team.

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Suzuki, Saville, Robertson and Warren crack NHL midterm draft rankings

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NHL Central Scouting’s 2019 midterm report is out and players of color once again hold prominent spots on the list.

The list is a measuring stick for some of the top amateur talent in North America and Europe ahead of the 2019 National Hockey League Draft June 21-22 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.

NHL Central Scouting lists Ryan Suzuki of the Barrie Colts as the 10th-best North American skater eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft (Photo/Terry Wilson/ OHL Images).

Ryan Suzuki of the Ontario Hockey League’s Barrie Colts is listed as the 10th best North American skater eligible for the draft. The 6-foot center is second on the Colts in scoring with 15 goals and 29 assists in 41 games.

Suzuki, an Ontario native whose great-great grandparents immigrated to Canada from Japan in the 1900s, is the younger brother of center Nick Suzuki, a Montreal Canadiens prospect who plays for the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack.

Tri-City Storm’s Isaiah Saville is the USHL’s top goaltender and the eighth-ranked netminder on NHL Central Scouting’s midterm rankings.

Isaiah Saville of the Tri-City Storm of the USHL is NHL Central Scouting’s eighth-best North American goaltender. Saville, an Anchorage, Alaska, native, has a record of 16 wins, 4 loses, and one overtime loss in 26 games.

The 6-foot netminder’s 1.76 goals-against average and .934 save percentage tops all USHL goalies.

Alaska native Isaiah Saville will play for the University Nebraska-Omaha next season.

Saville has committed to play next season for the NCAA Division I University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

Nick Robertson, a left wing for the OHL’s Peterborough Petes, is the 30th-best North American skater on Central Scouting’s list. Robertson, who is of Filipino heritage, is the Petes’ second-leading scorer with 17 goals and 16 assists in 31 games.

NHL Central Scouting ranks Peterborough Petes forward Nick Robertson as the 30th-best North American skater eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft in June. (Photo/Kenneth Andersen).

The 5-foot-9 resident of Northville, Michigan, is the younger brother of left wing Jason Robertson, a Dallas Stars 2017 second-round draft pick who skates for the Niagara IceDogs of the OHL.

Defenseman Marshall Warren loves the New York Islanders, admires Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban, and will play for Boston College next season (Photo/USA Hockey’s NTDP/Rena Laverty).

Marshall Warren, a defenseman for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, is the 39th-best North American skater. The 5-foot-11 Long Island, New York native, has 5 goals and 12 assists in 29 games for the NTDP’s Under-18 team. He tallied 8 goals and 22 assists in 60 games last season.

Defenseman Marshall Warren of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program is NHL Central Scouting’s 39th-best North American skater (Photo/USA Hockey’s NTDP/Rena Laverty).

Warren, a life-long New York Islanders fan who lists Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban as his favorite player, has committed to play next season for the NCAA D-I Boston College Eagles of Hockey East.

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Dajon Mingo scores shootout-winning goal at 2019 ECHL All-Star Game

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The 2019 ECHL All-Star Game in Toldedo, Ohio, was a home game of sorts for Jacksonville Icemen defenseman Dajon Mingo.

A crowd of over 7,000 first cheered Mingo Monday, a salute to his playing days at nearby Bowling Green State University and his stint with the ECHL’s Toldeo Walleye.

But the cheers turned to boos after Mingo scored the All-Star Game-winning shootout goal for the Eastern Conference team against Team Fins, a squad of mostly Walleye players.

“I wasn’t really ready for the BGSU cheers. But I guess they still remember me here from the Walleye and at Bowling Green,” Mingo told The Toledo Blade. “When I scored there I didn’t know if they were going to cheer for me or boo me. So I just pointed at the crowd. And I think that got them going…”

Mingo played for Bowling Green from 2012 to 2016. He was bypassed in National Hockey League drafts but was invited to the Washington Capitals development camp in 2015. He made his professional hockey debut with the Walleye in the 2015-16 season.

Jacksonville Icemen defenseman Dajon Mingo, left, Cincinnati Cyclones Assistant Coach Jason Payne, at Norfolk Admirals defenseman Jalen Smereck at the 2019 ECHL All-Star Game in Toledo, Ohio.

The 5-foot-9 Canton, Michigan, native has 5 goals and 10 assists in 21 games for the Icemen. He has 22 goals and 53 assists in 191 ECHL regular season games.

The All-Star Game was played in a 3-on-3 round-robin format that featured Eastern and Western conference teams and two squads of largely Walleye players – the Fins and the Hooks.

Mingo wasn’t the only player or coach of color at the All-Star Game. Norfolk Admirals defenseman Jalen Smereck joined him on the East team.

Smereck, a 6-foot Detroit, Michigan native, tallied a goal and an assist in the All-Star tournament. He has 4 goals and 27 assists for the Admirals this season

Cincinnati Cyclones Assistant Coach Jason Payne served as an assistant coach for the West team.

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Players of color shine at 2019 CWHL All-Star Game in Toronto

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When it comes to covering women’s ice hockey, Erica L. Ayala has it locked down! She traveled to Toronto to cover the 2019 Canadian Women’s Hockey League All-Star Game. Below is the sister’s dispatch from the all-star weekend. Erica will be rocking the mic at the 2019 National Women’s Hockey League All-Star Game in Nashville next month as part of an all-female broadcast crew. You can follow her at https://ericalayala.com/.

TORONTO – Over 30 of the best and brightest stars of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League competed at Scotiabank Arena Sunday night at the 2019 All-Star Game. Three players of color – Brigette Lacquette, Sarah Nurse, and Jessica Wong – were among the top CWHL stars.

Wong and Team Gold shutdown Nurse, Lacquette and the rest of Team Purple to secure an 8-4 win to cap All-Star Weekend. Canadian Olympian Brianne Jenner tallied three goals to lead all scorers and became the third player to record a hat trick in a CWHL All-Star Game (Jessica Jones and Jillian Saulnier, 2017).

Markham Thunder goaltender Liz Knox and Calgary Inferno defender Brigette Lacquette conduct ceremonial face-off at the 2019 CWHL All-Star Game in Toronto (Photo/Chris Tanouye).

Ahead of All-Star Weekend, Lacquette was voted captain of Team Purple by fans, receiving 55% of the vote. “To see the percentages was kind of crazy to me,” Lacquette told the media Saturday.

The Dauphin, Manitoba native played college hockey at the University of Minnesota-Duluth before being drafted to the Calgary Inferno. She won a Clarkson Cup with the Inferno in her rookie season and returned again to the CWHL Clarkson Cup Final in the 2016-17 season. However, this is her first All-Star appearance in her four-year professional career. Lacquette ranks second among defenders with 17 points (2 goals, 15 assists).

Calgary Inferno defender Brigette Lacquette.

Lacquette was humbled to serve as captain of Team Purple and represent her country and the Indigenous community at center ice Sunday.

“This past year, I’ve been visiting a lot of Indigenous communities and whatnot, sharing my story. I think that helps with [visibility] and shows them they can really achieve anything they set their mind to,” Lacquette shared over the weekend.

Hamilton, Ontario-native Sarah Nurse joined Lacquette on Team Purple for the weekend. Like Brigette, Nurse enjoys being a role model for young players, especially black players. Nurse played NCAA Division I hockey at the University of Wisconsin and was recently named to the WCHA 20th Anniversary Team.

After Wisconsin, Nurse made her first Canadian Olympic team and earned silver at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games. She was pre-drafted to the Toronto Furies for the 2018-19 season and is second in scoring (10 goals, 9 assists) behind veteran Natalie Spooner.

Toronto Furies forward Sarah Nurse, who played for Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Being a member of the Toronto Furies, Nurse and her teammates were very busy promoting the All-Star Game leading up to Sunday. From photo shoots to clinics, and TV appearances, it was a whirlwind.

One day, Nurse hopes to draw the Black Girl Hockey Club north of the border to a Toronto Furies game.

“I follow them on Twitter,” said Nurse of the women’s hockey fan group. “That would be so cool. There are a lot of Canadian cities that have hockey and I think it would be absolutely incredible. I heard they went out to Washington and that actually got a lot of media coverage. It was so cool to hear about that.”

Jessica Wong was drafted as a starting defender by Team Gold captain Liz Knox.  She represented both Canada and China in Toronto on Sunday. Wong grew up in Nova Scotia and played two seasons with the Calgary Inferno upon graduating from Minnesota-Duluth.

The CWHL Purple and Gold All-Star Teams (Photo/Chris Tanouye).

She was retired when she heard about the CWHL expansion to China last season. She dusted off the skates to accept the challenge of growing the women’s game in a place close to her heart. Wong has a grandmother originally from Shenzhen, the city that is home to the Shenzhen KRS (Kunlin Red Stars) Vanke Rays expansion team. She jumped at the opportunity to come out of retirement and connect to her familial roots. Wong is a top-five scorer for Shenzhen with three goals and 11 assists.

Shenzhen KRS Vanke Red Stars defender Jessica Wong.

As part of the weekend, CWHL All-Stars participated in community events at the Ronald McDonald House, MLSE Launchpad, and the Canadian Blood Donation Clinic. Nurse and Furies teammates Renata Fast and Mellisa Channel participated in a special series sponsored by Adidas Canada. The Furies All-Stars hosted clinics, panel discussions and more for two youth teams – the Ancaster Avalanche and Burlington Barracudas. The youth teams were also hooked up with some Adidas gear and the ultimate behind-the-scenes experience at the All-Star Game.

“Yesterday, the Community Day went really well,” commented CWHL Commissioner and recent Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Jayna Hefford Sunday evening. “At the end of the game, seeing the players on the ice, not really wanting to leave the ice, to me that shows that they were having a good time.”

CWHL action resumes as Lacquette and the Calgary Inferno host Wong and the Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays tomorrow at 7:45 pm MST. Next week, Nurse and the Furies return to action in China to take on Shenzhen.

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Capitals greet black youth hockey player who was racially taunted and the teammates who stood by him

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After enduring hurtful racist taunts at a Maryland youth hockey game recently, Divyne Apollon II was showered with hockey love at Monday’s Washington Capitals-St. Louis Blues game in D.C.

Divyne and his Maryland Metro Maple Leafs teammates had prime seats for the game a 4-1 Blues win – courtesy of Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly and defenseman John Carlson.

Divyne Apollon II and his Metro Maple Leafs teammates meet Washington Capitals players John Carlson, left, and Devante Smith-Pelly at Capital One Arena (Photo/Courtesy Washington Capitals Photography)

“It was a good game,” Divyne said with a smile. “It would have been better if they (Capitals) won.”

Divyne, a 13-year-old defenseman, and his team visited the Capitals locker room after the game and met Smith-Pelly, Carlson, forward Alex Ovechkin goaltender Braden Holtby and defenseman Brooks Orpik.

Divyne Apollon II and his the Metro Maple Leafs were thrilled to meet Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin Monday night after the Caps-St. Louis Blues game (Photo/Courtesy Washington Capitals Photography).

Divyne left the room clutching autographed sticks from Ovechkin, Smith-Pelly and Carlson. Being a good teammate, he gifted a stick given to him by Holtby to Maple Leafs goalie Alex Auchincloss.

“I’m overwhelmed from the support I’m seeing,” Metro Maple Leafs Head Coach Brad Howington said, looking around the locker room. “You didn’t think anything was going to come out this.  All the support that has come out of this has been great. The kids are having a blast.”

Divyne Apollon Sr. talks hockey with Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly (Photo/Courtesy Washington Capitals Photography).

Asked about how he felt about the team that taunted him – identified by The Washington Post as the Old York Road Raiders – Divyne said he felt sorry for the suburban Philadelphia team.

“I guess they’re pretty angry at home because they didn’t get to meet Ovie because of their actions,” he said. “It was really cool that they (Capitals) reached out to us and invited us to the game and let us meet them at the end.”

The Capitals players heard about the racist abuse that Divyne has endured on the ice – most recently at a tournament in Maryland a few weeks ago – and appreciated the way that his teammates stood up for him.

“I’ve gone through it when I was younger and at this stage as well,” Smith-Pelly told reporters earlier in the day.

Washington Capitals forward Devente Smith-Pelly meets Maryland’s Metro Maple Leafs (Photo?Courtesy Washington Capitals Photography).

He was referring to the February 2018 incident at Chicago’s United Center where some so-called hockey “fans” “racially taunted him as sat in the penalty box. The Chicago Blackhawks organization reacted swiftly to the episode,  banning the culprits from home games.

Smith-Pelly said he was impressed by how Divyne’s teammates handled their business and rallied around their teammate after he was racially abused at the Maryland tournament.

Meet Maryland’s Metro Maple Leafs (Photo/Courtesy Washington Capitals Photography).

“One thing that kind of stood out is how his teammates had his back as 13-year-old kids fighting for their friends and that brings you back to when stuff happened with me when I was younger and now,” Smith-Pelly added. “Guys on my team always had my back, too. So, I thought it was good to recognize the team as well for standing up for their teammate.”

Carlson told the young players “You guys are the future, and by doing what you did are standing up for each other and standing up for yourselves.”

“That’s what we need to move forward,” he added. “You guys are just kids. You made things right.”

Metro Maple Leafs parents did their part, too. Hockey mom Tammi Lynch designed a sticker with the word “racism” and a red hockey stick slashed across it. She gave copies to players and parents to wear to register their disgust about Divyne’s on ice treatment.

A little button makes a big statement. Members of the Metro Maple Leafs sported anti-racism buttons on their jerseys at Monday’s Capitals-Blues game (Photo/Courtesy Washington Capitals Photography)

The hockey world has embraced the symbol. The team has received scores of request for copies of the stickers for players to put on their helmets or sticks.

And others folks in the hockey community showed their solidarity with Divyne and the Maple Leafs in different ways.

Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban sent a video message encouraging Divyne and Ty Cornett, a 13-year-old hockey player of color from Detroit who also has been subjected to on-ice racist taunts, to keep on keeping on and not let the negativity of others deter them.

Divyne’s father, Divyne Apollon Sr., said he was surprised and touched by the outpouring of support from the Capitals and others in hockey.

“This is like Disney World,” the father said of the outpouring of support. “The message is this game is for everybody. You don’t segregate people by their color, period. You’re brought here to play hockey, it’s a team sport. You play it to build character, not to destroy people.”

Divyne Apollon II, 13, was all smiles after he met Devante Smith-Pelly, John Carlson, Alex Ovechkin and other Washington Capitals players (Photo/Courtesy Washington Capitals Photography).

And the younger Divyne had his own message for other kids of color who may be experiencing the racist hockey hate that he’s suffered through on the ice.

“Don’t worry about it,” he told reporters. “If you want to play the game, play it.”

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Capitals’ Devante Smith-Pelly and John Carlson invite racially-abused player and teammates to game

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Encouraging words and good deeds.

The story of 13-year-old Divyne Apollon II, a Washington, D.C.-area African-American hockey player who has been subjected to racist taunts on the ice, has touched a nerve in the hockey world.

People have responded. Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly and defenseman John Carlson stepped up Wednesday, inviting Apollon and his entire Metro Maple Leafs team to attend the Caps’ January 14  home game against the St. Louis Blues.

“Hey Metro Maple Leafs, 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.

The Capitals are giving the Metro Maple Leafs 60 tickets to the game and the Maryland youth hockey team will get a chance to meet Smith-Pelly, Carlson and other Washington players after the contest.

Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban delivered encouraging words to Apollon and Ty Cornett  another 13-year-old hockey player of color from Detroit, Michigan, who has also been subjected to racial slurs – via Instagram.

Divyne and his father, Divyne Apollon Sr., shared their experiences of playing hockey while black in an eloquent interview with NPR Wednesday morning.

Divyne Apollon II, left, with Divyne Apollon Sr., and the player’s sisters, Devinity and Deja (Photo/Courtesy of Divyne Apollon Sr.).

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Wild’s Matt Dumba sees Black Girl Hockey Club tweet, donates to help send girl to international tournament

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Call it Black Girl Hockey Club Magic.

Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba.

When Black Girl Hockey Club founder Renee Hess heard that Kalei Forga, a 12-year-old hockey player from Forest Lake, Minnesota, set up a GoFundMe page to raise $3,700  to play on a World Selects Invitational team that’s competing in France for 10 days in April, she spread the word on BGHC’s Twitter account hoping that followers would kick in a few bucks for the cause.

A surprise follower stepped up Friday with $500 and encouraging words for Kalei: Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba.

“Go Kalei! I had a similar opportunity when I was younger and it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of a lot of good people in my community and the sacrifices made by my parents!” Dumba said in a tweet Friday. “Tear it up over there!”

Dumba, who was leading National Hockey League defensemen in goals before he had surgery last month to repair a ruptured pectoralis muscle, told Minnesota’s WCCO-TV Friday that “I was so happy to take advantage of the opportunity I saw this morning and I definitely wanted her to go on her trip.”

Kalei, who plays for the Forest Lake Rangers Under-12 team, was thrilled by Dumba’s gesture.

“It feels special to me that he took the time to write that to me and donate the money – it makes me happy,” she told Minnesota’s WCCO-TV.

Michelle Forga, Kalei’s mom, was shocked.

“When Matt Dumba did it, I was like, ‘Is that THE Matt Dumba? Like the real Matt Dumba? That can’t be,'” she told WCCO-TV. “And then I saw it on Twitter.”

As for Hess, she’s elated to record an assist to Dumba’s assist in helping Kalei reach her goal.

“Pretty damn awesome!” she told me in a text.

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Maryland hockey team seeks to ‘stick it’ to racism after black player is taunted at game

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They say that Hockey is for Everyone. Unfortunately, some folks still haven’t gotten the memo.

Some players who faced 13-year-old Divyne Apollon II must have been among that group.

Otherwise they wouldn’t have taunted the defenseman for the Metro Maple Leafs, an Under-14 team in Maryland, with monkey noises, chants of “Go play basketball” and “Get off the ice” or rhetorically hurl the occasional N-word toward him.

Divyne Apollon II, left, with Divyne Apollon Sr., and the player’s sisters, Devinity and Deja (Photo/Courtesy of Divyne Apollon Sr.).

Divyne was racially abused during a tournament in Maryland last week, and it wasn’t the first time in his five-year hockey career.

His father, Divyne Apollon Sr., gave him hockey’s version of “The Talk” years ago: if an opposing player racially targets you, keep calm, don’t let it throw you off your game, and don’t let the ugly words or actions of others define who you are as a person or player.

“We’ve had several conversations on what your reaction should be – letting a coach know, letting a ref know as soon as you hear someone make a comment,” the father told me. “We’re looking to make it to the next level, the ultimate level, the NHL. You fighting every single game, every single year, no team is going to take you because you’re fighting every single game.”

After hearing about the racial abuse Divyne Apollon suffered on the ice, Tammi Lynch, the mother of a teammate, created this sticker (Photo/Courtesy Tammi Lynch).

But the elder Apollon apparently never gave “The Talk” to his son’s white teammates or other Metro Maple Leafs parents. When they heard and saw what Divyne had endured on the ice at a game last weekend at Maryland’s Bowie Ice Arena, they got into a fighting mood.

“They were so angry about it,” the elder Apollon told Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak, a hockey mom who first reported about the ugly incident. “They seemed even angrier than us.”

Tammi Lynch, a Metro Maple Leafs mom, was among the fighting mad. She didn’t drop the gloves, though. She hit the computer keyboard instead and designed a sticker with the word “racism” and a red hockey stick slashed across it.

“What Divyne had explained to me was so wrong that I felt like we could not just sit there and say ‘Oh gosh, too bad that this happened,'” Lynch told me. “It shouldn’t be happening. And, as a group, we can stand up and say ‘We don’t support this and this is not what our team and hockey is about.'”

Divyne’s teammates placed the stickers on their sticks the next game. Parents wore the stickers on their apparel. It was a simple gesture that scored big with the Apollons  and registered with others within the hockey community.

“I hadn’t realized that so many people actually cared about it until she did make the sticker and all the players had it on their sticks and all the parents had them on their coats or whatever they were wearing that day,” young Divyne told me. “I felt appreciated and like I actually mattered on the team.”

“I was taken aback by it, I was floored, I was elated,”  his dad added. “We had become almost numb to it because it (racist taunting) happened so often. The response was amazing.”

After the elder Apollon, Lynch, and others posted pictures of the stickers on social media, requests came pouring in from other hockey teams wanting copies to put on their players’ helmets and sticks.

“It’s been shocking and amazing,” Lynch said. “Divyne’s gotten emails ‘Can I get stickers from you, can we get them for our team, I’ll take 100, another person said I’ll take 100.’ It has exploded and blossomed.”

Lynch and the Apollons told The Post that they want to carry the anti-racism message beyond stickers. They hope to start a movement called “Hockey > Hate.”

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Capitals’ Madison Bowey and Edmonton Oilers’ Caleb Jones net first NHL goals

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Whether it happens in your 78th game or occurs in just your sixth, netting that first National Hockey League goal is a special moment.

Madison Bowey, defense, Washington Capitals.

Just ask Washington Capitals defenseman Madison Bowey and Edmonton Oilers blue-liner Caleb Jones.

Bowey, who appeared in 51 games for the Capitals last season, finally got his first NHL goal Saturday night – a rifle from the slot at 1:01 of the second period in a 3-2 Washington win over the Ottawa Senators in Ottawa.

Washington rookie defenseman Tyler Lewington also scored his first goal in just his second NHL game. It  was a first period tally that gave the Capitals a 2-0 lead in the opening frame.

“Obviously, it’s a long time, but it definitely felt great,” Bowey told The Washington Post of his of his goal. “It turned out to be a big goal for us…It was awesome, and I know the boys were happy for me, and to get that success, it’s sweet.”

 

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Caleb Jones.

Jones’ first goal, in his sixth NHL game since being called up from the AHL Bakersfield Condors, was one of the few bright spots for the Oilers in a 7-4 drubbing by the San Jose Sharks in Edmonton Saturday.

His score came at 10:40 of the third period in the the Oilers’ fifth straight loss.

“I’m sure in a couple of days when I look back on it, I will have a little smile,” Jones, the younger brother of Columbus Blue Jackets All-Star defenseman Seth Jones, told The Canadian Press. after the game. “But there was a lot of bad things tonight in our game. The moment I scored it, it just felt like a garbage-time goal.”

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