ARIZONA COYOTES

Coyotes F Bokondji Imama on challenges of being a person of color in NHL

May 28, 2022, 7:05 PM | Updated: May 31, 2022, 7:37 am
Arizona Coyotes left wing Bokondji Imama (15) has his shot stopped by St. Louis Blues goaltender Jo...

Arizona Coyotes left wing Bokondji Imama (15) has his shot stopped by St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (50) as defenseman Calle Rosen (43) arrives to help out during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, April 23, 2022, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Arizona Coyotes forward Bokondji Imama joined Soul on Ice: The Podcast to talk about the challenges of a person of color in hockey.

Imama played in four games last season for Arizona, scoring one goal on three shots and recorded five penalty minutes, his first career goal.

The 25-year-old joined hosts Kwame Mason and Jordan Buhat on Tuesday to discuss the uncomfortable moments in the NHL and how he combats it mentally every day.

“Absolutely, absolutely hockey has made me uncomfortable many times. Until today,” Imama said. “I have to find new ways to make myself comfortable in this hockey culture that we love to say is diminutively white.”

“There are things that happen along the way but it’s about my growth too. I’m happy to grow every day, every year and try to make it a better and better place.”

Imama said his parents were born in the Democratic Republic of Congo but moved to Montreal where he and his four sisters were born. He is in the middle of two older and younger sisters.

He said he played five different sports growing up but knew that hockey was the one for him.

“It goes way back in the day,” Imama said. “I remember going to all those tournaments and hockey always had that competitive, different feel to it. It was the moment I put on those skates, I loved it.”

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Coyotes F Bokondji Imama on challenges of being a person of color in NHL