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How Asian American NHL Players Are Breaking Stereotypes

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Before I begin my debut article for the BS3 Network, I'd like to introduce myself. I'm Ana Kieu. I've followed the BS3 Network for over seven years now — just because I had friends who worked there, and I felt obligated to do so. I'm the type of person who helps my friends with whatever they need. It's funny how life works. I'm a journalist. I majored in communications at San Jose State University. I've come a long way since my first job out of college covering the San Jose Sharks for Inside Hockey. For years, there has been a myth about Asian Americans as a model minority. While Asian Americans as a model minority haven't changed significantly in recent years, the myth has slowly been dismantled by Asian American NBA player Jeremy Lin and Asian American NHL players such as Jason Robertson, Josh Ho-Sang, and Nick Suzuki — just to name a few. The NBA and NHL haven't been so diverse for as long as I can remember, but times have changed, and let's talk about the NHL today. The NHL once said: "Hockey is for everyone." I once wrote an article about how diversity and hockey can mesh well for SB Nation's St. Louis Game Time. It's as accurate as it was last year. But I'd like to write a new article that'll essentially be a continuation. Here's how Asian American NHL players are breaking stereotypes. As a journalist, I cover the St. Louis Blues for Inside The Rink, but I've always followed the NHL in its entirety. I can watch any NHL team and game. I'm the same way with the NFL. As an Asian American, I'm aware there aren't a lot of Asian American NHL fans as opposed to the NFL, NBA, etc. But that's to be expected, as I've noticed that there aren't a lot of Caucasian MLS fans in the United States. The tide has slowly turned as time passed by, in my opinion. The NHL has come a long way since Larry Kwong became the first NHLer of Chinese ancestry to play in a professional hockey game on March 13, 1948. The league later showcased NHLers of Asian descent like Paul Kariya, a Canadian former left winger of Japanese and Scottish descent, and Devin Setoguchi, a Canadian former right winger of Japanese and Swiss descent. As of April 30, 2021, 31 NHLers with Asian and South Asian roots followed in Larry Kwong's footsteps. Nine of those 31 NHLers played in a game in the 2021-22 NHL season. Did St. Louis Game Time make me a Blues fan? Yeah, pretty much. I was raised in the San Jose, California, area. I became a really big Chicago Blackhawks fan after my first trip to Chicago, Illinois, when I was younger. I eventually converted to the dark side, the St. Louis Blues. I didn't factor in the 2018-19 Blues when I decided to convert to their biggest rival. I might've stayed with the Blues out of convenience, as I'd rather not learn another team's roster (but, of course, I can learn another team's roster if needed). As a fan, I can be hard on the Blues and Blues fans. I believe in this team, but I can also be realistic. I want this team to succeed. At the same time, I don't see them achieving success until they find the root causes of their problems. But that's their job, not mine, as I don't work for the Blues' front office (although I wouldn't turn down the opportunity if I had the experience). I think the Blues are headed toward a rebuild right now. Go ahead and agree or disagree with me, as I welcome all of your opinions. There's a reason why debate exists, as long as we don't get personal. You're probably wondering if I have a favorite Asian American NHL player. In short, yes. I'm a fan of the Dallas Stars left winger Jason Robertson, also known as Robo. Am I right for fangirling over Robertson? If you're a Blues fan, you're probably shaking your head. If you're a Stars fan, you may wonder if you can convert me. Either way, you can't blame me for following the 23-year-old forward. Robertson's a superstar. Robertson, a Filipino American from the Los Angeles, California, area, stands at 6'3" and weighs 200 lbs. He was born in Arcadia, Calif., and raised in Northville, Michigan, for more opportunities in ice hockey. He played for Michigan's Little Caesars and Detroit Kings before the OHL's Kingston Frontenacs drafted him in 2015. He was later drafted 39th overall in the second round by the Stars in the 2017 NHL Draft. He signed an entry-level, three-year, $2.775 million contract on May 3, 2018, and a four-year, $31 million contract on October 6, 2022. His hard work paid off for the former and the latter, especially the latter, as his title as a 41-goal scorer was a rare sight to see. He was only the fourth Stars player to reach the 40-goal mark following their relocation to Dallas, Texas, in 1993-94. They were originally the Minnesota North Stars from 1967 to 1993. Robertson's professional hockey career is interesting, to say the least. He first got interested in hockey because his father and grandfather were Los Angeles Kings season ticket holders. He told ESPN, "I have two brothers who also played travel hockey [including Nick, currently a Toronto Maple Leafs rookie] ... And with traffic in L.A., and different practice times and arenas, it was a pain in the butt for my parents to get around." He added, "Nick and I certainly are excited for the opportunity to be role models — not just for the Asian community, but for anyone from different backgrounds, or anyone trying to get into the game of hockey ... Nick and I, and our whole family to be honest, have always been welcomed at rinks. We've never had to deal with any racism or any of that stuff, which is fortunate because there really shouldn't be any room for that in the world, it's unacceptable." I get that all of the Central Division teams have rivalries with each other. The Blues and Stars had numerous fun playoff series over the years. Take, for example, 2001. The Blues outlasted the Sharks in the conference quarterfinals and swept the Stars in the conference semifinals before losing to the Colorado Avalanche in five games in the conference finals. There are a lot of longtime hockey fans out there, and I wouldn't be surprised if they asked me if I really watched the Blues-Stars series in 2001. My answer's yes, but I didn't remember much as I was like most eight-year-olds; then again, I didn't play ice hockey, let alone ice skate (I once ice skated for an episode of a friend's television series filmed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but it took three takes before I was able to ice skate while speaking from a script). I learned about hockey on my own, so I hope I'm doing a good job. If you like my article and want to see my other work, you can follow me on Twitter @AnaKieu.

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