Abbotsford Canucks

Loewen 'Proud' of Community Engagement Through Sharing an Important Message in his Book

February 19, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Abbotsford Canucks News Release

Abbotsford Canucks' winger Jermaine Loewen's approach to life is to treat everyone with kindness.

Loewen was inspired to write the book he co-authored, Ari's Awful Day/Mainer's Move, during COVID when the world was captivated by the Black Lives Matter movement that protested police violence and advocated for Black lives.

Loewen's book came out four years ago, but the first two and a half years he couldn't go to schools and promote the book. This season, the Abby forward has been doing book readings and interviews at a schools around the Lower Mainland. He goes to elementary and middle schools, reads the book for classes or assemblies, then opens the floor to students for questions and panel discussions.

"That's the kind of engagement I want, and I think it's starting to get some traction. I'm really proud of that. People are excited to have me come out to their schools and that means a lot," Loewen said.

"It's been it's been going well, and I'm really happy with the response I've been getting from teachers and parents."

Loewen's agent approached the then 22-year-old about writing a children's book, pulling from his experiences as a minority in hockey, to help promote a message of kindness and inclusivity. Loewen co-authored the book with Thom Van Dyke that tells a story from two perspectives, one of a black bear named Mainer and the other of a lion named Ari, and it explores how people who are different can still be friends.

Martin Luther King Jr.'s quote "Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that," has always spoken to the 26-year-old who lives by those words which kept him energized through the creation of the book.

Born in Mandeville, Jamaica, he was adopted at five years old by a couple from Arborg, Manitoba who fell in love with him when they went to Jamaica for humanitarian aid. A year after he came to Canada he started skating and played his first hockey game at the age of 10. By the time he was 12 years old he set a goal to become the first Jamaican born player to be drafted in the NHL.

"I've had a lot of situations in hockey where I'm the only kid that's black. As a kid, little things like that were hard as well as dealing with microaggressions and feeling like the odd one out, but I use that to motivate me and to become who I am," Loewen shared. "I thought there's probably a lot of kids that could relate to that situation, more than may even lead on because it's a very difficult thing to talk about."

"If we can teach young kids about microaggressions and that racism isn't acceptable from an early age, then maybe that can help change the culture of the world."

The 6'4" forward has been working on reaching a wider audience, attending as many schools as his schedule will allow on his off days when the team's in town. He would like to write another book in the future, but right now he's focusing on hockey and continuing to build momentum and conversation surrounding this book.

Loewen is striving to empower young minds to embrace diversity and foster empathy from an early age and remains committed to creating a brighter, more inclusive future for generations to come.

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