from Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press,
“I didn’t get here by myself,” said Givani, who was among a small group of young players who were assigned Thursday to the Grand Rapids Griffins while the Wings are on break for the NHL All-Star game. “I had a lot of people help me get to where I’m at right now. There’s so many thanks yous I can give. At the same time, nothing that really repay all the time my dad’s put in, my aunt’s put in to get me to where I’m at right now.”
When he was young, Givani was inspired by watching his dad play hockey. As he got older, he was instilled with wisdom his father dispensed about being a black person and what it meant to deal with racial discrimination in hockey, as well as in life.
‘They have to have thick skins’
Gemel Smith, 25, is four years older than Givani. He has played 83 NHL games and is a forward in the Tampa Bay Lightning system with the American Hockey League’s Syracuse Crunch. And he’s had plenty of racist remarks directed at him by opposing players and their fans.
“I never got the N-word,” Gemel said in a phone interview. “But I got stuff pretty similar. Just kind of like ‘monkey’ and ‘you’re playing the wrong sport, go play basketball.’ Stuff like that.”
added 9:14am, Below, watch Tyler Bertuzzi after the All-Star game.