I'm the typical 'jump-on-the-bandwagon-when-the-Canucks-get-close-to-the-finals' hockey fan during the playoff season. My limited working knowledge about hockey prevents me from being invested in the sport during the regular season. Despite this fact, I'm well aware that Asians don't usually make a career out of this sport.
The significance of Zachary Yuen's name being called at the NHL draft in St. Paul, Minnesota this Saturday transcends sporting. Yuen is the first Chinese blueliner to be drafted into the NHL. In an interview with the Toronto Sun, Yuen mentioned that he hopes that his ethnicity and rising exposure will help him become a role model for other Chinese kids hoping to pick up the hockey stick. The fact that Yuen is from Vancouver sweetens the deal for many non-white kids growing up in this city.
Yuen is a third generation Chinese Canadian and began figure skating when he was 22 months old. He began playing competitive hockey when he was just 3 years old. Perhaps his time in figure skating lead him to pursue his passion for music. He graduated from the London College of Music with a piano diploma. Yuen believes his training in music helped him gain the discipline and self-control to excel in hockey.
Although Zach stands at 6'0" and weighs about 205 lbs, Scott McDougall's March 2011 WHL rankings at The Scouting Report said "if [Zach] was a couple inches taller, he probably would be in most NHL teams' top 10 wish list from the WHL."
The following video of then 16-year old Zach fighting Brendan Rouse definitely shows that Zach does not get intimidated. Despite losing his helmet, he continues to physically dominate his opponent.
All in all, many of us are very excited to see Zach in action in the upcoming season.