Nazem Kadri, as I’d mentioned before Game 5, was one win away from history. He had just returned from injury to score the game-winning overtime goal in Game 4 against the Tampa Bay Lightning that gave his Colorado Avalanche a commanding 3-1 series lead.
Through all the ups and downs, ins and outs of his career, both in an Avalanche and Maple Leaf uniform, the Lebanese-born Canadian has finally achieved his childhood dream. There were so many challenges alone in the postseason that pushed him to the brink.
how it started: how it’s going:— Black Girl Hockey Club (@BlackGirlHockey) June 27, 2022
Congratulations to Stanley Cup CHAMPION Nazem Kadri! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/vwJYL1xLaC
He has made history by being the first Muslim-born player to win the Stanley Cup. He has an entire generation behind him that will now be looking up to see that a player that looks like them has climbed the mountain. Here’s his reaction along with several other reactions from the press who identify as Muslims celebrating the accomplishment he’s achieved.
Nazem Kadri’s name will forever be engraved in the #StanleyCup. And let’s not forget the @Avalanche forward's Game 4 overtime goal to go along with it.#NHLStats: https://t.co/gJa0DbtOJp pic.twitter.com/ulH5V285wq— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 27, 2022
Nazem Kadri becomes the first Muslim-born player to hoist the Stanley Cup — which makes it an emotional day for me. pic.twitter.com/MrUfSzuHRZ— Kamil Karamali (@KamilKaramali) June 27, 2022
This image will inspire Muslim / Middle Eastern kids for generations to come. The name Nazem Kadri will be permanently etched on a @StanleyCup band.— ᴀʀᴅᴀ Öᴄᴀʟ (@Arda) June 27, 2022
This is a huge moment for diversity & inclusion in hockey. @43_Kadri made history.
Emhamdulillah. Helal olsun. pic.twitter.com/zMayczwmiK
Nazem Kadri celebrating with his parents Samir and Sue. pic.twitter.com/NIctIdBP9B— Aarif Deen (@runwriteAarif) June 27, 2022
Of course, there was the infamous quote he said on live air to Sportsnet that you probably haven’t missed. He won’t forget that one and certainly will be reminded of it plenty of times: “For everyone that thought I was a liability in the playoffs, you can kiss my ass!”
Besides not being a liability in the playoffs this year, playing through injury and playing through consistent racism made it even tougher for Naz. Of course, his six-week recovery time for his broken thumb surgery turned into two weeks. He struggled to even be at 100 percent receiving passes and shooting the puck. He couldn’t even tie his own skates but yet earned the right to be able to lift Lord Stanley.
Of course, we all remember the racism and disgustingness he faced against the St. Louis Blues - there’s no need to go into further detail surrounding that, you can read more about it here if you wish. But to come back to Colorado after scoring a hat-trick with the entire city behind him, with thousands of “Stand with Naz” signs circling the glass had to have been a special feeling.
Superfan Adrienne helped set up all of those wonderful signs to show support for Kadri. You have to give them a shoutout and follow them on Twitter if you haven’t already, and was able to be by Kadri’s side to celebrate as well. You couldn’t have written it up any better. Nazem Kadri, the first Muslim-born player to win the Stanley Cup. How sweet it sounds.