St. Albert Tetz Powell U15 AAA Flyers’ forward Turner McIntyre is looking forward to breaking down barriers for Black hockey players in the community.
McIntyre took a crucial step in his hockey career a few weeks ago when he was drafted to the Winnipeg Ice in the 2021 WHL draft — a move years in the making for the 15-year-old.
He comes from a family of athletes. His mother was a division one track athlete, and his father got a soccer scholarship as a young player. McIntyre said he was first introduced to hockey when he was five.
“I was at the initiation level when I first started, but after that year I actually quit,” said McIntyre. “I came back again when I was eight years old, and I just fell in love with the game and kept going.”
The prospect of being a professional hockey player wasn’t always on his mind. It took until these past few years for McIntyre to realize just how far he could take his career.
“In the last few years, I’ve realized the talent that I have,” said McIntyre. “I can play at higher levels and keep excelling and getting better.”
The talent is obvious to anyone who has watched the Flyers this season. McIntyre has put up 28 points in 20 games this year. Despite the impressive totals, he doesn’t describe himself as an offensive specialist.
“I think I’m a smart hockey player,” said McIntyre. “I can use my speed to really create chances and in the defensive end I feel like I’m really strong in.”
As a Black hockey player about to take that next step, McIntyre isn’t ignorant of the people who came before him. The sport of hockey has been dominated by white players for most of its existence and McIntyre hopes he can be involved in inspiring more people of colour to get involved in the sport.
“I want to thank Black men and women that came before me that kind of paved the path for me,” said McIntyre. “I feel inspired to be a role model and lead for those who are coming up behind me.
“I want to set a good example for them.”
It’s no secret that racism is also prevalent in many minor hockey systems in the country. A 2021 survey by the Angus Reid Institute, which polled members involved in hockey across the country, found that a majority of respondents experienced some sort of racism within the sport.
McIntyre is no stranger to it, yet he said the past few years have gotten a lot better.
“[I experienced racism] a few times back when I was younger,” said McIntyre. “Right now, there isn’t really anything. The past couple of years have gone really well.”
McIntyre remains a critical cog in the Flyers' machine this year. The team is flying high with a 17-4-0 record — his 28-points rank third on the team.
It will be a while before St. Albert residents can watch him live in the community. The team returns from Christmas break with a five-game road trip until they return to the Jarome Iginla Arena on Jan. 29 with a game against the Parkland Saints.