Sometimes pictures say it all, but we’ll take a few words anyway.
Joel “Chef Jojo” Thomas cherishes four things: Cooking, hockey, the Anaheim Ducks, and Hockey Hall of Famer Willie O’Ree.
Clad in a Ducks jersey and carrying a Willie O’Ree bobblehead, Thomas ventured to Washington’s Capital One Arena Wednesday night to watch the annual Congressional Hockey Challenge between a team of D.C. lobbyists and a squad of lawmakers and to meet his idol, O’Ree, who was the National Hockey League’s first black player.
To call Thomas hardcore hockey would be an understatement. The Washington, D.C.-area chef is a forward in a men’s league at the Piney Orchard Ice Arena in Odenton, Maryland, and helps out when he can with the Fort Dupont Ice Hockey Club, North America’s oldest minority youth hockey program.
And left wing Paul Kariya was his player, so much so that he made the journey to Anaheim in October 2018 to watch the Ducks retire Kariya’s number. He made the pilgrimage to Toronto to witness Kariya’s induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017.
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