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Center Ice Spotlight: Clarence Williams | Joliet, Illinois

Heather at Grotto Photo Company

My name is Clarence Noah Williams. My family and friends all call me Noah. I was born in the city of Joliet, IL. I have an older sister who started skating when she was 3. I was about 1 1/2 at that time. My mom put me on skates to see how I would do. I wasn't a fan of it. A couple months later, when I turned 2, I asked to get on the ice. My mom put me in rentals and we went out again. I ended up taking classes for skating and got the hang of it pretty quickly. Then one day after one if my sister's classes, my papa and I sat and watched a hockey game that the older kids were playing. I asked my papa what that was. He said, "That is a sport called hockey." "I want to play hockey, Papa," I responded. I was 2 when I began my hockey journey. My parents are Americans like me. They have a very diverse culture and heritage which I inherited. My papa's family is African-American and French Creole. He would be labeled as black. My mom's family is Mexican and Puerto Rican. She would be labeled as Latina or Hispanic. They have taught me and continue to teach me the realities of how people of color are viewed in the world. How people of color are not always welcomed in certain places. How getting into particular areas, sports, jobs can be purposely made difficult for people of color. I want to show everyone, that the color of our skin is not bad. That anyone can be and do what every they want. I want to stop seeing labels and start seeing real people. Being an Ambassador for HPOC let's me show the world we can all play together! I look forward to meeting even more new people from around the world who love hockey like me. Maybe one day, when I get to be a teenager, I can help little boys like me too. I love hockey, but when I am not on the ice or training off ice, I really like to play like every little kid. I especially love building toys like Legos. But, I have a special fascination with Volkswagen Beetles. Ever since I watched the Transformers movie and Bumblebee took the shape of a Beetle, I just can't get enough of them. I cried when my mom told me they stopped making them. I still hope to be able to find one when I finally learn to drive! If I could sit down and have dinner with one hockey player Ben Eager. I was about 3 when I was in the Little Blackhawks program at Homewood/Flossmoor Park District. Ben came to one of our trainings to help out. My mom has a short video that she has shown me. I can barley remember. So I think it would be fun to meet him now that I am older and can remember better. I have his autograph on my very first hockey stick. The best advice I've been given For as long as I can remember, we call our family, "Team Williams". My papa is head coach, my mom is assistant coach. My sister and I are the players. When ever we do anything, the most important thing our parents tell us to do is NEVER GIVE UP! My hockey dream is to see Hockey continue to be the tough, fast and fun sport that I know it to be, but I want to see the opportunities open to ALL kinds of players. It's happening! We have to keep going and teach the whole world how special of a sport is Hockey!

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