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Social Equality

The Chicago Wolves’ mission in the community is to be a megaphone for compassion and positivity, to acknowledge and honor our local heroes and trailblazers, to raise the level of knowledge regarding the issues of race, diversity and inclusion and to do our best to create opportunities for cross-cultural dialogue.

Player Activist: Scooter Vaughan

Born and raised in California, Vaughan moved to the Midwest during high school in search of the best combination of education and junior hockey. He spent four years playing at the University of Michigan, where he earned a degree in Psychology. During his seven-year professional career – which featured three seasons with the Wolves – Vaughan launched businesses in a variety of fields. Those business pursuits continue to be his focus.

Best Book: “Between The World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Best Movie:Finding Forrester

Best Documentary: “I Am Not Your Negro”

Best person to follow on Instagram: @thefakepan

Charity I recommend: Kids for Camps

First time I dealt with prejudice: There has not been a year that I’ve played hockey and not experienced racism. 90% of it was from my own teammates and coaches.

What I want folks to know: If you avoid conflict to keep the peace, you start a war inside of yourself.

Player Activist: Brandon Pirri

Born in Toronto, Pirri attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for one year before launching his professional career in the Chicago Blackhawks organization. He joined the Wolves prior to the 2017-18 season and helped the team win two division titles and the 2019 Western Conference championship.

Best Book: “All Are Welcome” by Alexandra Penfold

Best Movie: “Remember The Titans”

Best Documentary: “13th”

Best person to follow on Instagram/Twitter: @ACLU

Charity I recommend: ACLU

What I want folks to know: Empathy. “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Player Activist: Keegan Kolesar

Drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2015, this affable Winnipeg native was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights organization in 2017. That enabled him to spend most of the last three seasons with the Chicago Wolves, where he developed into a physical forward known for big goals and big hits.

Best Book: “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

Best Movie: “American History X”

Best Person to follow on Instagram/Twitter: LeBron James (@kingjames)

First time I dealt with prejudice: I was at a hockey camp and a white kid called me the N word on the ice and I didn’t know what it meant at the time. Until I asked my dad and he explained everything to me then and there.

What I want folks to know: Don’t be afraid to have those awkward conversations with your family and friends. Bring light to these issues and become more educated and involved with these issues in your community.

Player Activist: Oscar Dansk

Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Dansk moved to Minnesota at the age of 13 to further his education and goaltending skills at Shattuck-St. Mary’s. After several years of junior and professional hockey in America and Sweden, Dansk joined the Wolves in 2017. He was the Wolves’ workhorse in goal when the team reached the 2019 Calder Cup Finals.

Best Book: “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

Best Movie: “12 Years A Slave” or the TV series “Roots”

Best Person to follow on Instagram/Twitter: I like following LeBron James and The Rock. They are very influential and good symbols for both athletes and social equality.

What I want folks to know: I think it’s great that the Hockey Diversity Alliance was created to give everybody within the hockey community a symbol and leaders to “rally” around and keep this conversation going. My thought is that these strong leaders in the hockey community and every other social circle do a great job of raising this important topic.

For me, as a white male, I listen and read about their stories because I haven’t been exposed to racism. My parents raised my brothers and I well in what’s right and wrong. We are all part of this world together and love conquers all. I believe that spreading that love is bigger now than ever. As well as keeping the conversation going and educating constantly for us now and the next generations to come.

Player Activist: Curtis McKenzie

After attending Miami University in Ohio for four years, this British Columbia native launched a long professional career in the Dallas Stars organization. He joined the Wolves in 2018 and helped lead the team to the 2019 Calder Cup Finals — his third Finals appearance.

Best Book: “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” by Bryan Stevenson

Best Movie: “42”

Best Documentary: “13th”

Player Activist: Vince Dunn

This Ontario native made his professional hockey debut with the Chicago Wolves in 2016 at the age of 19. He needed just one full season with the Wolves to advance to the NHL’s St. Louis Blues, where he helped earn the Stanley Cup in 2019.

Best Book: “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

Best Movie: “Shawshank Redemption”

Best Documentary: “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst”

Best Follow on Instagram/Twitter: Travis Scott @travisscott and @trvisXX

Charity I recommend: Smilezone Foundation

Player Activist: Jermaine Loewen

Loewen’s road from Jamaica to professional hockey is little short of amazing. When he was one, his birth parents gave him up in order for him to find a better life. Eventually, Stan and Tara Loewen visited him in a Jamaican children’s home, adopted him at the age of five and took him home to Manitoba. Jermaine didn’t start playing organized hockey until he was 11, but improved rapidly and in 2018 became the first Jamaican-born player to be selected in the NHL Draft. He joined the Wolves for the 2019-20 season and scored his first AHL goal in front of family and friends in Manitoba.

Documentary: “13th”

Best person to follow Twitter/Instagram:  Malala Yousafzai @malala

Charity I recommend: Advancement Project

First time I dealt with prejudice: Happened at a hockey tournament when I was a young kid. It was a lot to take in, but knowing what you stand for — and the people who are close to me — helped me through the difficult time.

What I want folks to know: It’s in all of us to help stop social inequality by educating ourselves first, so we can help others out and they don’t have to go through that pain. It’s a long process, but being aware what’s going on will help move things into a positive place for the future.

Player Activist: Jordan Schmaltz

Schmaltz grew up in Wisconsin and attended the University of North Dakota for three years. Drafted in the first round by the St. Louis Blues in 2012, Schmaltz started his professional career with the Wolves in 2015.

Best Book: “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism” by Robin DiAngelo

Best Movies: “Remember The Titans” and “Just Mercy”

Best documentary: “13th”

Best people and organizations to follow on Twitter: Steve Kerr, Hockey Diversity Alliance, LeBron James, Mark Cuban.

Charity I recommend: Time to Dream Foundation

Player Activist: Jordan Binnington

Before he backstopped the St. Louis Blues to the 2019 Stanley Cup championship, this suburban Toronto native honed his trade during three full seasons with the Wolves from 2014-17.

Best Movie: “Crash”

Best Documentary: “13th”

Best person to follow on Instagram/Twitter: Kurtis Gabriel @kurtisgabriel_ or @kurtisgabriel

Charity I recommend: 360 Kids

Player Activist: Mackenzie MacEachern

Born in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, MacEachern attended Michigan State University for three years before launching his professional career with the Wolves in 2016. He spent two years with the team and helped win two division titles before making his NHL debut with the St. Louis Blues in 2019.

Best Book: “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo

Best Movie: “12 Years A Slave”

Best Documentary: “The House I Live In”

Best Instagram follow: @goodhumansonly

Player Activist: Brett Sterling

Sterling grew up in California and graduated from Colorado College before starting his professional career with the Wolves in 2006. After playing professionally for 12 years, Sterling retired in 2018 as the No. 2 goal-scorer in Wolves history. He and his family live in Chicago.

Best Book: “How To Be An Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi

Best Movie: “Get Out”

Best Documentary: “13th”

Best person to follow on Instagram/Twitter: @msfoundation

Charity I recommend: Southern Poverty Law Center

What I want folks to know: It is time to treat all people as equals regardless of race, religion, gender or orientation. Regardless of whether we have personally dealt with racism or prejudice, we need to try to empathize and join the fight with others for equality.

Player Activist: Crisoval “Boo” Nieves

Nieves was born in Baldwinsville, New York, and spent his youth pursuing education and hockey at the highest levels. After attending the Kent School in Connecticut, he moved to the University of Michigan and graduated with a degree in Music. Nieves played four years at Michigan before making his NHL debut with the New York Rangers on Nov. 15, 2016.

Best Movie: “Remember The Titans”

Best Documentary: “Breaking the Huddle: The Integration of College Football”

Best follow on Twitter/Instagram: @LewisHamilton

Charity I recommend: Ice Hockey in Harlem

First time I dealt with prejudice: Told to “Go back to Africa” playing in Massachusetts summer hockey by a player from Fairfield, Connecticut.