Dear Mr. J.T Brown,
I’ve never met you personally, but I wish to thank you for sharing your love of hockey with our underrepresented youth. I know you’re a professional with Tampa now, but I watched your career grow through my child’s eyes.
I first heard your name when my three year old son shouted it and praised you as you helped usher our (Duluth’s) UMD Bulldogs to the NCAA Championship title in 2011. You have no idea how much you have inspired my son. He would study you. He would watch you skate, watch you stick handle around defenders, watch you score, and he would see himself in you.
You see J.T, my child can identify with you like very few can. He too is a biracial child who loves to play hockey. He also lives in a community much like yours when you were young. He’s not surprised that he’s the ‘only’ [biracial] kid rink ratting with his friends.
Like most hockey moms, I’m out there watching him at games and practices. But unlike most hockey moms, I’m the ‘only’ [person of color] and with that comes ‘those’ comments from other parents in the stands. I keep my head up and am so proud to see my son play the game.
I will continue to bring both of my boys to countless hockey practices and to countless games, simply because they love the sport so much. I just wanted you to know that you are still inspiring little African American boys in Duluth that would love to ‘rink rat’ with you someday.
Tampa’s J.T. Brown showing minority children that hockey is for everyone