CENTER ICE SPOTLIGHT: Hassan Abdul-Mutakabbir | CROWN HEIGHTS NY
My name is Hassan and I’m from Crown Heights, Brooklyn. When I was 3 years old my dad took me public skating for the first time and right after that he signed me up for a learn to play hockey program. I started figure skating around that time. When I was four years old, I played in my first house league against kids who were up to four years older than me and I’ll never forget that year. It was super tough being the little kid on the ice. The next year when I was 5 years old, I started playing travel hockey. Now I am 13 and this is my 9th year playing travel and it has taken me all over the country and the world.
When I was about 7 years old my dad brought me to NYC Roots Hockey (now called NextGen AAA & 43Oak). Most of the kids were 15 or 16 at the time and had been playing together for a while, but they welcomed me in. Playing travel hockey on the east coast, I did not come into contact with anyone who looked like me in my age category. During the day, I would go to school in very diverse settings and then drive to hockey practice in Long island or New Jersey and I was always the only black kid. Because of this, going to NYC Roots Hockey became a safe space for me and really helped carry me though time when I felt lonely, had problems with teammates and felt like I didn’t fit in.