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Alongside Lali Toor, Brar founded Apna Hockey, an initiative in Alberta that provides a network and support for South Asian players.
“Anytime your name gets attached to the NHL, it’s a great thing,” the 44-year-old Brar said in the leadup to the one week of voting that went on in late July.
The other two finalists for the award were Alexandria Briggs-Blake — who led her community in an effort to rebuild Tucker Road Ice Rink in Maryland, the home to a predominantly African-American hockey team, after it was ruined by a fire in 2017 — and John Haferman, who founded the Columbus Ice Hockey Club, which has led to approximately 30,000 boys and girls from underprivileged neighbourhoods in central Ohio being introduced to hockey.
“I also want to thank John and Alexandria for their great work and their inspiring of people, as well,” Brar told Sportsnet. “I can’t thank Willie O’Ree enough for the person that he is and the great ambassador of hockey that he is.
“To have this award means a lot to me and Apna Hockey.”