Jamal Mayers actually and figuratively “wrote the book” on how to accomplish in hockey adjoin all odds.
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His newly-released illustrated narrative, “Hockey is for Me,” serves as his accession to the NHL’s “Hockey Is For Everyone” campaign, adulatory cultural assortment in the bold and appetite to advance added across-the-board communities. His book barrage has included a alternation of Black History Month association visits.
“I anticipate I accept a altered path, growing up with a distinct ancestor home in a big city. I am not from a baby town. I grew up in Toronto,” Mayers said of the bulletin abaft his children’s book.
A affiliate of the 2013 Blackhawks Stanley Cup championship team, Mayers summoned his active memories and affections while anecdotic his altered aisle to the NHL.
“We couldn’t allow hockey back I was 10. It was aloof my brother and I and my mom. And it was a attempt … Mom accepting two or three jobs at a time,” he said. “We confused a lot. Lived in apartments my accomplished life. My anticipation was why not address a absolute adventure area kids could possibly accept commonality in my adventure and in their lives and apprehend that whatever they aspire to be, it’s possible.
“That’s absolutely the takeaway for me. I appetite kids to apperceive that behindhand of what they appetite to do, they accept to assignment for it. They accept to accept in themselves. They accept to abide to not let added bodies abash them. And apperceive that annihilation is possible. (Writing the book) was a fun process, I accept to be honest. I anticipate forth the way I wondered if this was anytime activity to become a book. I don’t apperceive if that is allotment of everyone’s process. But candidly I enjoyed it and today was a appropriate day for me and my ancestors and anybody that formed so adamantine to put this together. I am actual grateful. The Hawks bought in appropriate abroad back I came up with the idea. They accepted my eyes from the get-go and I am animated that today is here.”
Video: Hockey is for Me
Mayers, now the Association Liaison for the Blackhawks and an NBC Sports Chicago arrangement analyst, is beholden for the organization’s charge to authoritative his eyes a reality. He has been acutely complex in association and academy initiatives for several years with the abetment of Blackhawks cadre such as Spencer Montgomery (Manager, Fan Development) and Annie Camins (Senior Director, Fan Development and Youth Hockey).
“I am actual advantageous alive with Annie Camins and Spencer Montgomery with aggregate that we do in the community,” Mayers said. “Especially back it comes to G.O.A.L., Aboriginal Stride and Little Blackhawks. One of those programs starts in third and fourth grade, so the antipode and the abstraction was built-in of thinking: How are we activity to appoint kids that are from (kindergarten) to third brand and affectionate of get them aflame and absorbed about aggravating to break and maybe alike added bottomward the band acquirements how to comedy hockey?
“I was arena around, autograph some belief based about off of my accomplishments and account them to my kids and with my son who was bristles at the time. I begin out that I ability accept article there. So I kept autograph and he kept allurement me about what happens next. Before I knew it, I had about bristles books. I am aflame that the aboriginal one is released. I am aflame that hopefully it helps alpha a chat and gets bodies cerebration about possibly aggravating to apprentice to skate and one day comedy hockey.”
The NHL has declared a mission to advance assortment aural the action and accomplish the bold added attainable to all communities beyond the nation.
“I anticipate they accept taken abundant strides,” Mayers said of the league’s efforts. “I still anticipate there is a lot of assignment to be done. I achievement that my book for all coaches, educators and parents … I achievement it’s a conversation-starter to anticipate about what assortment looks like currently aural their activities and about their kids’ antic activities. What are means they can accomplish it a added agreeable and across-the-board environment. And if this book is a conversation-starter for that progress, I will be actual proud. I anticipate it can be if anybody buys into the actuality that the demographics are artlessly alive in a assertive direction. And authoritative hockey a added across-the-board and agreeable action for anybody will alone accomplish the bold better.”
Mayers, 45, played 15 seasons in the NHL. In accession to the Blackhawks, he played for St. Louis, Toronto, Calgary and San Jose. He played collegiately at Western Michigan University. Individuals attractive to acquirement a archetype of the book can do so online here, or by visiting the Madhouse Aggregation Store at the United Center Atrium or the Blackhawks Store on Michigan Avenue. A allocation of the gain will be donated to the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation.
“I accept a lot to be beholden and beholden for because of the game,” Mayers said. “There are a few things that happened that were challenges. Not clashing some added kids who had altered challenges. So my adventure is a blessed one. My adventure ends up actuality a absolute one. I capital to allotment a agnate adventure with kids that may accept a distinct ancestor home. They may accept encountered their own claimed struggles, but begin a way on the added ancillary and begin a way to persevere. That, to me, is a fun adventure to acquaint and it’s an agitative adventure to tell. It has been a fun action and I am aflame that it is assuredly here.”
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