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Team Canada rises above racist comment, wins world ball hockey championship

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The goaltender for Canada’s world champion junior men’s ball hockey team says he used a racist comment as “fuel” to help power the team to its gold medal win.

Canada’s U-16 and U-18 ball hockey teams were in Žilina, Slovakia last week to compete in the International Street and Ball Hockey Federation (ISBF) tournament.

The teams were excited to compete, but the event got off to an ugly start at the opening ceremonies. When U-18 team goaltender Aalamdaya Singh Kailay was selected as Team Canada’s flag-bearer, player from another team decried the choice.

“A U-16 team USA player, someone who was standing right there, commented: ‘You’re not even from Canada.’”

U-18 coach Jon Silcox said several Team Canada players heard the comment and it put a damper on the start of the tournament.

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“It’s unfortunate it still happens to this day, and hopefully we can make a change and we can better the environment for hockey and hockey players,” Silcox said.


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Kailay said he initially shrugged the comment off.


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“I was more focused on my team, I was more focused on the boys, I was more focused on my country than some dumb comment,” he said.

After Team Canada beat Team USA in overtime in the last game of the tournament’s round-robin phase, he said he re-thought the situation. And when Canada had to go up against the U.S. again in the gold medal game, he leaned on it.

“I definitely used that comment as fuel,” the goaltender said. “I was like, ‘You know what, it’s time to shut up these haters, let’s go win this gold.’”

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Kailay let in just one goal as he backstopped his Canadian team to a 5-1  victory over Team USA.


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“He’s an unbelievable person, he is everything that models the Team Canada program and the Canadia Ball Hockey Association,” Silcox said of the netminder. “He’s a world-class athlete, a world-class teammate, always a smile on his face and just a bright young man.”

Silcox said a complaint over the comment has been lodged with the ISBF, and he trusts the organization will take appropriate action.

Kailay said winning the cup was an unforgettable feeling.

“It was huge, not just for me but for the rest of the team — it means a lot as a Canadian, especially because hockey is such a huge part of being Canadian,” he said.

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As for the ugly comment, and the wider problem of racism in hockey, Kailay had some advice for others who find themself in a similar situation.

“My message to parents and other players would be: Actions are louder than words. Go out there, show them on the floor, on the court, on the ice how good you are. Don’t take those words to heart.”

“I showed them what it is to be a Canadian, and that’s a champion.”

Canada’s U-16 also claimed gold, defeating its Slovakian hosts in a 6-5 overtime thriller.

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





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Team Canada rises above racist comment, wins world ball hockey championship

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