Subban reaches out to local hockey player over racial taunts
P.K. Subban, shown in the video he made, sent words of support to young Plymouth hockey player Ty Cornett. “This has meant the world to Ty,” said the young player’s father.
Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban made a big impact on a Detroit-area Youth hockey player while Nashville was in town to play the Red Wings Jan. 4.
Subban found out that 13-year-old Plymouth resident Ty Cornett has been the target of racial bullying and taunting while playing hockey. Cornett is black.
Subban, who is one of about two dozen black players in the NHL, texted the family a video, in which he encouraged and showed support for the young player.
“As long as you’re still breathing in this world, you’ve got to believe in yourself and let nobody tell you what you can and can’t do, especially if it’s because of the color of your skin,” Subban said as part of the 43-second video. “In this world, some things happen that we can’t completely understand. That’s OK; we don’t have to understand it. All we have to do is understand our self, believe in our self and keep trying and keep pushing forward.
“So I just want to tell you that when you’re playing hockey, you play because you love the game and you want to play. Let nobody take that away from you.”
Ty got the video, which Subban recorded at Little Caesars Arena, on Jan. 5. Subban learned of the situation from the father of one of Ty’s teammates.
“He received the message and went nuts,” Ty’s father, Matthew Cornett, told NHL.com. “He has probably watched the video 500 times. That night he had a game, and I have never seen him happier to go.”
The video has had a profound effect on the entire Cornett family.
“This has meant the world to Ty,” Matthew said. “As a parent, I cried when I saw the video. It’s been very tough to hear your son called horrible things.
“This video meant as much to my wife and I as it did to Ty.”
Ty started hearing racial slurs and threats from opponents and parents during a tournament last spring, and the taunts have gotten worse, according to Matthew. The father considered pulling his son out of hockey after an incident earlier in the season, but the decision was made to let him continue to play.
Ty was already a big fan of Subban, who formerly played with the Montreal Canadiens. He has a poster of Subban on his bedroom wall, Subban T-shirts and bobbleheads and wears Subban’s No. 76 on his hockey jersey.
Ty is one of four children Matthew and his wife adopted, and Matthew has been partially paralyzed while battling two forms of cancer. Matthew is a Red Wings fan, but he’s had no problem with his son idolizing Subban.
In fact, he’s ready to make a big investment for a Wings fan.
“I have to go out and buy six Subban jerseys,” one for each member of the family,” he said. “That’s going to set me back.”