A Student of the Game
Like so many other Canadian children, Kevin Weekes dreamed of playing in the National Hockey League.
Also like so many other Canadian children, he grew up watching Hockey Night in Canada each Saturday, a time-honored tradition going on 60 years now.
Years later, Weekes has experienced both. In a professional career spanning the better part of two decades, he played in net for seven NHL teams.
“That was my goal. That’s what I wanted to accomplish,” Weekes said. “To this day, I’m eternally grateful that I was able to make it happen.”
Soon after, he became the first black hockey broadcaster in NHL history, appearing on the very program with which he grew up watching.
“It is very humbling. It’s something I’m very honored to be a part of. In our own way, we’re inspiring generations of people,” he said. “Any time that red light goes on, it’s a real special feeling for me. Just to think that the first games in hockey history on TV were broadcast with us. Where it’s come from, where it is and where it’s going, to be a part of that is very special.”
Canada, By Way of Barbados
In 1973, Weekes’ parents immigrated to Canada from Barbados. Two years later, Weekes was born, and five years after that, he was playing hockey.
Well, at least he was part of the local hockey scene. Hanging out with his teenage cousins and friends, Weekes was relegated to the role of ball chaser; if the ball rolled past the net and down the street or into the bushes, he was the one to get it.
When one of the full-time goalies moved back to Greece, however, Weekes got a promotion. He was the new goalie and organized ice hockey followed.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of his upbringing, Weekes said, was that his parents weren’t very familiar with the game of hockey.
“We were learning as we went along,” he said. “I do think there are advantages if your parents do know about a sport that you’re playing. But the great thing about it for me, my parents didn’t pretend to know more than they knew, and there was never any pressure. We were all learning it together, and they were extremely supportive. Ever since I started playing, my parents never had to force me to try harder or work harder or practice. That’s just the way I was wired, and they were very supportive. In my own experience and comparatively speaking to some of my friends and what they experienced, I think it was a big advantage that way.”
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