That’s what was on the agenda last week for Penguins defenseman P.O. Joseph when he dropped in on the Willie O’Ree Academy.
The academy is a nine-week program that brings together Black youth hockey who are part of the Pittsburgh Amateur Hockey League and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League.
P.O. Joseph took time to answer some of the kids questions, some of them centered around what it was like growing up as a Black hockey player.
“You know it’s going to come here and there on the ice, off the ice, at school…in the rink, watching games and all…but we really just surrounded ourselves with great people that didn’t care about our skin color,” P.O said.
“We didn’t really have that much of a problem growing up. I feel like our friends would protect us, too, from stuff like that. We just think people who think that of Black people are just ignorant people, and we don’t really have time for that.”
After answering questions from the kids, Joseph discussed Willie O’Ree and the role he played in being the NHL’s first Black player, along with his offseason training plans with his brother, Mathieu.
Joseph wrapped up his afternoon by discussing his upcoming season.
“When you get a little taste of something good, you for sure want more,” he said. “I for sure want to stay with this team for the rest of the year and then the next couple of years as well. So I know it’s not easy. There’s a lot of great players there, and you just got to get ready for camp and show the best version of yourself.”