Henderson Silver Knights forward Jermaine Loewen is not just a professional hockey player – he’s also a published author. Alongside Thom Van Dycke, he co-wrote the children’s book Ari’s Awful Day/Mainer’s Move. The book depicts the struggles of a bear who moves to a new town and deals with rejection from one of his teammates, a lion, despite his skill at the game.
By the end of the book, both characters move past their initial assumptions about the other and become friends, with each saying that they were “wrong about bears or wrong about lions.” Copies of the book will be sold at the Silver Knights game on February 26 to honor Black History Month and highlight his message of friendship and inclusion.
Loewen was inspired to write the book as a way of addressing some of the attitudes that shaped the discrimination he has faced as a Black player in the hockey community. Three years ago, when Loewen wrote Ari’s Awful Day/Mainer’s Move, he wanted to draw attention towards that discrimination and the need for change, including within the hockey community, throughout and beyond the Black Lives Matter movement. Loewen saw an opportunity to be a part of that change, encouraging a thoughtful and kind approach to inclusion.
“I think it’s great to emphasize learning from a young age to make sure kids don’t take what they said or assumed when they were younger forever. It was important for me to have a book with good, positive messaging in it, to help kids realize that what you say and how you say things does matter. Just be kind to everyone. Everyone deserves to feel love and kindness,” he explained.
“My book is inspired by that and a lot of the events and things that I went through in my hockey days and being a minority. I wanted to put those experiences out there so other kids have something to reflect on. You know, ‘my scenario isn’t the same as Jermaine Loewen’s, but I can take some of the things that he’s gone through in his career and learn from it.”
Proceeds from the copies of the book sold at the game on February 26 will go towards the Henderson Silver Knights Foundation, which works in partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights foundation to direct funds towards the Henderson community and local non-profits.
“The sales are going to go to charity, and that was really my intention with it. I’ve never really wanted to make money off of this, and that’s what me and my agent talked about. I make decent money playing the game right now, and I’m grateful for that,” Loewen continued.
“It’s more about making a change towards kindness in society. So that way you maybe don’t take the things that people have taught you – things that you might not know are racist, or microaggressions, or hurtful. I want to make a big dent in how people see other people.”
Loewen also wants to extend the impact that he’s having within the Henderson community beyond Ari’s Awful Day/Mainer’s Move. He’s driven to be an inspiration to young players, working to grow the game on and off the ice.
“It was eye opening to me when I was signing those autographs and to see all the support and love from the fans. Obviously I want to make it to the NHL, that’s everyone’s goal, but I want people to know it’s not just about who you are on-ice. It’s also about how you live your life off-ice and how you can be a person that kids look up to.
“Me being a Black player alone helps a lot, but I want it to be a lot bigger than that. It keeps me mindful – it keeps me humble and accountable, too, just knowing that this is part of something bigger than me in hockey.”
“I would like to thank Thom Van Dycke for helping write the book as a co-author; I’d like to thank my agent, Ray Petkau, and all the numerous people that have helped me along this journey in hockey so far. I couldn’t be more thankful and grateful.”