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Jujhar Khaira's first goal was a win for NHL diversity and hard workers everywhere

A special moment in Edmonton and NHL history. 

NHL: Arizona Coyotes at Edmonton Oilers Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

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Lace 'em up. Time for the Morning Skate.


A WIN FOR DIVERSITY

And just good, hard-working people all around.

Last night, an Edmonton Oilers rookie scored his first goal. That’s nothing new. If any team has run thousands of rookies through its lineup over the last decade, it’s the Oilers. But this one was special, because this first goal belonged to Jujhar Khaira.

Khaira is Canadian (born and raised in Surrey, British Columbia) but of Indian descent. Only three players in NHL history have that to boast about; Khaira is the third.

Now, Khaira probably won’t let his ancestry define him. Nor should he! Khaira has taken the long road to the NHL. Since the Oilers drafted him in 2012, Khaira spent three years earning his way to the big leagues: one season in juniors and two in the AHL. Coach Todd McLellan praised his work ethic in postgame. Khaira’s development was not quick, but it was hard-won.

But his background is important. To a lot of people! Just search his name on Twitter this morning and you’ll find fans celebrating. Seeing someone who represents your culture find success at the highest level should never be taken for granted, and Khaira’s moment last night was a terrific moment for the future of hockey. A diverse sport is a greater sport.

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Note: The email version of this newsletter incorrectly spelled Jujhar Khaira's first name. I apologize for the error.