Earlier this year, the troubling story of Ty Cornett quickly spread throughout the news.
The 13-year-old from Michigan began hearing racial slur and threats from opponents and parents (yes, parents) while playing in a hockey tournament last spring, according to Pat Pickens of NHL.com. Things only escalated from there and, at one point, his father considered pulling him out of the sport.
Thankfully, the family came to the agreement that he should continue playing. It was a decision that caught the attention of P.K. Subban.
To show his support for Ty, the Nashville Predators blueliner recorded and sent a personal message to him.
Encouragement and empowerment for Ty from professional hockey players hasn’t stopped there, though.
Givani Smith, a 21-year-old in his first AHL season with the Grand Rapids Griffins, invited Ty and his family to his team’s clash with the Iowa Wild at the Van Andel Arena on Friday night.
A native of Toronto, Ont., Smith was selected in the second round of the 2016 draft by the Detroit Red Wings. And while his first professional season hasn’t been as productive as he probably planned on (he entered Friday night’s contest with four goals and seven points in 46 regular season games), Smith came through with his special guests in the building.
He found the back of the net 7:19 into the first period to extend Grand Rapids’ lead to 2-0 at the time. Unfortunately for Smith and the Griffins, they went on to the lose the game 4-3 in overtime.
That didn’t change his enthusiasm to meet Ty after the game, though.
Last night Ty Cornett, a young Detroit hockey player who has been subjected to racial bullying, was invited by our own @givanismith24 for him and his family to come enjoy a Griffins game. The two met post-game, where Smith encouraged him to never quit. Thanks for coming, Ty! pic.twitter.com/ty9TTMeFgy
— Grand Rapids Griffins (@griffinshockey) March 9, 2019
A big tip of the cap goes to Smith and the Griffins organization for making this happen. We’re sure that Ty and his family will never forget how they helped to turn a very negative situation into a positive one.
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