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Most of the hockey world has rallied around Colorado Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri following a flurry of racially-motivated harassment online during a heated second-round series against the St. Louis Blues.
With many on social media having expressed their solidarity with the 31-year-old, some have taken this opportunity to share stories of their encounters with Kadri and singing his praises as a generous and kind young man.
On Friday, a Twitter user named Mrs. Terpstra shared a story involving a young Kadri when he was playing for the Kitchener Rangers in the OHL, between 2006 and 2008. Her family attended a fan event organized by the team, during which Kadri took the time to offer great advice to Mrs. Terpstra's distraught young daughter.
“When Kadri was playing for the OHL’s Rangers, we took our children to a Skate with the Rangers event. My middle child had just started to play hockey and wasn’t much of a skater. She was getting discouraged because she fell a lot.
"I told her that if she asked any of the Rangers, they would probably tell her they used to fall when they were learning, too. She said, “Can we ask one of them?” So we skated over to the nearest Ranger, who happened to be Kadri.
“I told him my daughter had a question for him. He knelt down on the ice to be at her eye level and she said, “When you were learning to play hockey did you fall down a lot?” He replied, “All the time. But I just kept getting back up and trying again.”
“Kadri took the time to encourage a little girl who was ready to quit hockey. That little girl has been recruited to play varsity hockey at university next year. I will never stop telling this story.”
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) May 27, 2022
The story was shared along with the #StandwithNaz, and quickly went viral.
Kadri, of Lebanese descent, has been the target of racist attacks and death threats following his collision with St. Louis’ Jordan Binnington in Game 3 of the second-round series, forcing the Blues goalie out of the lineup for the remainder of the series. More abuse came after the Avalanche took a 3-1 lead in the series as Kadri scored a hat trick, including the game-winner, in a 6-3 victory over the Blues in Game 4.
During Game 5, in which the Avs could have ousted the visiting Blues but ended up losing in overtime, Avalanche fan and season ticket holder Adrienne Ruth printed out 300 “Stand with Naz” signs displayed during warmup and throughout the contest.
Kadri and the Avalanche are facing the Blues in St. Louis in Game 6 on Friday night, hoping to move on the Western Conference final to face the Edmonton Oilers for a shot at the Stanley Cup.
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