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Montreal Families

Children’s book promotes inclusion in hockey

On a mission to make hockey more diverse, inclusive, and accessible for all, Scotiabank recently published a book called The Hockey Jersey that is reflective of Canada’s multicultural population. A team sport that provides players with the opportunity to learn and develop new skills, keep fit, and make new friends, hockey can be incredibly rewarding for those who participate.

As part of its Hockey for All initiative, which provides free on- and off-ice programs to support females, new immigrants, and Black and Indigenous communities, Scotiabank collaborated with writer Jael Richardson on the book.

The story is about a young Black girl named Kareema who feels intimidated as she steps into the arena for the first time. Overwhelmed and feeling out of place in the changing room, Kareema and some of the other players wonder if they’ll fit in. When coach Sylvie arrives with the team’s jerseys, Kareema and her teammates discover something special while they get dressed and ready to hit the ice together.

There are many books about hockey but very few have diverse characters. Illustrated by Chelsea Charles and with contributions by Eva Perron (a 12-year-hockey player), the book encourages children to reflect on their feelings of belonging and to pursue their passions and interests.

The Hockey Jersey is such an important book for building a more diverse future for hockey, for all kids. When you’re a kid growing up, having someone or something to look up to is so impactful for visualizing your future. For many kids, that will be The Hockey Jersey,” said P.K. Subban, retired Black NHL player. “The characters in this book give kids from all walks of life the chance to see themselves as part of the game. But more than that, this book drives home the belief that you can be anything you wish, regardless of where you come from or what you look like, both on the ice and out in the world. Personally, as a proud uncle to my six-year-old niece Angie, I am so excited that she will have the opportunity to see herself as part of the game through Kareema’s story.”

Hockey is a sport that requires teamwork, dedication, and skill, and it can be incredibly rewarding for those who participate. By inspiring the next generation of hockey players, Scotiabank hopes to create a vibrant, safe, and welcoming community of athletes who are passionate about the game. By highlighting the importance of diversity and inclusivity in hockey, The Hockey Jersey aims to create a supportive environment for all players, regardless of their race, gender, or identity.

The Hockey Jersey reminds me of what it felt like to play on a team as a kid. I started playing hockey with an all-boys team, which was a bit intimidating to say the least,” said two-time Olympic champion Cassie Campbell-Pascall. “But I loved the game, and my memories of skating at full speed prevail over the parents who didn’t want a girl playing on a boys’ team. I remember how I felt getting my first-ever hockey jersey, and the symbolism of friendship, teamwork, and the lifelong lessons it represented. This book perfectly captures the feeling of getting your first jersey.”

Purchase a copy at Indigo and select bookstores or download a digital copy of the book for free at scotiabank.com, or on Apple, Kindle, or Kobo.

Net proceeds of the book will be donated to the Hockey 4 Youth Foundation, an organization that fosters social inclusion for newcomer and high-priority youth through free ice hockey and its off-ice life skills program. Scotiabank will also donate more than 3,500 books to public libraries and Little Free Libraries across Canada, and 5,000 books to school boards across the country.

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