2023 wjc tyson hinds

A small gesture with a big impact

Tyson Hinds was quick to support two young victims of racism to encourage them to continue playing hockey and fight for inclusion in sport

François Lafleur
December 29, 2022

Hockey is for everyone, and Tyson Hinds knows that.

Last April, the Gatineau, Que., native was made aware of a story about Koby Francis and Anthony Allain-Samaké, two U15 AAA hockey players who were victims of racism.

“I heard about their story from one of my former coaches, who coached me when I was younger,” says Hinds. “He texted me and asked if there was anything I could do for them because they were really not feeling well.”

So Hinds, who is wearing the Maple Leaf at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship in Halifax, contacted the two players to motivate them to continue their hockey journey.

For the 19-year-old, he would not allow discrimination to end the careers of these hockey players.

“I told them that some people might try to put them down along the way, but no matter what happens, you have to keep your head up and work hard. These two kids have a bright future.”

Thanks to this intervention, Koby and Anthony are still on the ice, and still in contact with Hinds.

In addition to their frequent exchanges, the three were able to meet during a visit by Hinds to Gatineau when his junior team, the QMJHL’s Sherbrooke Phoenix, played the Olympiques.

After the game, a photo was taken at centre ice with all the BIPOC players from both teams.

“It’s about sending a message,” says Hinds, who had two assists on the night. “It’s to say that hockey is for everyone. It goes beyond just the black players: there were also Israel Mianscum and Colin Ratt, two Indigenous players, in the picture. We wanted to send a message to all hockey stakeholders and participants.

Despite such unfortunate incidents that continue to occur, the four-year QMJHL veteran believes that attitudes are gradually changing and that his sport is becoming more inclusive.

“A lot of things are done every year to try to improve the situation and stop racism in the sport,” says Hinds, who had 28 points in 27 games with Sherbrooke before departing for Team Canada selection camp. “I think the professional and junior leagues are putting a lot of emphasis on that. It’s possible to get suspended now, something that wasn’t done before. We just have to stay on the right track and keep pushing things so that all forms of discrimination eventually disappear.”

Meanwhile, Koby and Anthony will be able to follow Hinds’ journey at the World Juniors.

After competing with Canada White at the 2019 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, he is representing Canada on the international stage for the second time in his young career.

“It’s amazing. Wearing that jersey and representing your country is something different,” says the Anaheim Ducks’ third-round pick (76th overall) in 2021. “It’s every young hockey player’s dream to be able to do that. I’m so happy to have this opportunity.”

With Olen Zellweger and Ethan Del Mastro back from the team that won gold last summer in Edmonton, and Los Angeles Kings’ defenceman Brandt Clarke a virtual lock to make the final roster, Hinds was ready to play whatever role he was given if it meant earning one of the final four spots on the blue line.

“I knew I was a bit of an underdog, so my goal was just to make the team,” he says. “The more games I play, the better I get. I’m just trying to keep playing well and getting better every game.”

He started the pre-tournament schedule last week in the role of seventh defenceman.

After only one exhibition game, Canadian head coach Dennis Williams promoted him to the second pairing alongside Clarke.

“Brandt brings a good offensive touch, while I am reliable defensively,” Hinds says. “It’s fun to play with him. He’s already experienced, having played a few games in the NHL earlier this season. It’s really amazing; I couldn’t ask for a better defensive partner.”

There’s a long way to go, but Hinds is happy with his progress so far.

“I played well defensively [in the first few games]; I didn’t leave much to the opposing forwards,” he concludes. “I was making good first passes, just trying to keep it simple while bringing an element of toughness. That’s the style of play the coaches expect from me.”

The goal is back-to-back gold medals for Team Canada. But gold or not, Hinds already has a big win to his name – inspiring players like Koby Francis and Anthony Allain-Samaké to persevere and pursue their hockey dreams.

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

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