Der in Kanada aufgewachsene Zachary Yuen ist der erste chinesischstämmige Spieler, der in der vierten Runde an 119 Stelle von den Winnipeg Jets gedrafted wurde. Im Jahr 1948 war es ein gewisser Larry Kwong der ein Spiel für die New York Rangers absolvierte. Die Liste der ehemaligen und aktuellen Spieler mit chinesischen Vorfahren ist überschaubar klein. Zurzeit spielt der Verteidiger noch für die Tri-City Americans in der Western Hockey League und bereitet sich auf eine Karriere in der NHL vor. ähnlich wie das Basketball Phänomen Jeremy Lin möchte Yuen ein Zeichen setzen, dass man akademisches und sportliches Talent auf höchstem Niveau verbinden kann. Hockey is Diversity sprach mit Yuen über seine Anfänge, Erfahrungen und musikalischem Talent.
1. How did you start playing hockey?
My parents put me in skates when I was about 22 months old. When I turned 3, they signed me up for a hockey program.
2. Who was your childhood hockey hero growing up?
My childhood hockey hero growing up was Pavel Bure because he was an extremely explosive player that was exciting to watch.
3. Asian parents are known for their strong emphasis on education. How did you manage to do both – athletics and education?
Time management was key, and free time was rare to come by. School work always came before hockey. I would always have to keep good grades in order to keep playing hockey.
4. Many Asian kids do have to learn an instrument while growing up – what was yours and who is your favorite musician?
I played the piano since I was 5, and received my diploma. I also played the trombone in my school band for a few years. My favourite musician growing up is definitely Beethoven because I loved how passionate he was. This translated through his music.
5. Did you experience any hostility from fans or other players because of your asian descent?
Throughout the years, I have experienced racism due to my asian heritage. I overcame this by ignoring it. Be proud of who you are and where you came from.
6. What is your advice on young asian hockey players growing up and aspiring to pursue a career in the NHL?
Most importantly, one must have fun and enjoy playing hockey. After that, one must let their passion for the sport take over. By this, I mean work hard and be open to learning new things.
Thank you for taking your time for this interview and supporting Hockey is Diversity.