Richard Park - Mojo Rider

Alex Ovechkin checking Evgeni Malkin into the boards

I like ice hockey, which is weird given that I grew up in DC area. I always think of hockey as a northeastern and midwestern sport. But ever since DC acquired an expansion team back in 1974, the Washington Capitals, I've been an observer and fan of my local NHL franchise. Sure, hockey is probably a third or fourth tier sport in most major metro areas. Let's face it, football still dominates most people's interest as far as pro sports goes.

But I like it, having gone to a few Caps games as a kid with my uncle. The team has been a real heartbreaker to follow, having always been a group of overachievers, and they've managed to lose in a lot of tough game 7's of the playoffs. But in the last few years, the team is much different and they have arguably the best player in the NHL today in Alex Ovechkin. It's just fun to watch this team play (of course, it helps if the team is considered one of the elite teams in the league).

But the other night, I watched the Caps play the NY Islanders on TV and I saw this player on the Islanders that always caught my attention. I had first been aware of him several years ago when I went to a Caps game and saw him score the game winning over time goal against the Caps. His name is Richard Park, the second Korean born hockey player ever in the NHL. I don't know much about Park, but he's fast on the ice and he's got a penchant for scoring breakaway goals or shorthanded goals (when a team is down a man due to a penalty). No easy chore! Checking on some other hockey sites, a good number of observers say that he might be one of the most under rated players in the league. But I think it's awesome to see an Asian player in the NHL. Here's a fun promo video Park did for the Islanders:

Park isn't the only one---others have been pioneers. Paul Kariya may be the best known Asian American hockey player and he is still active. But what is interesting is that the NY Islanders is also owned by an Asian American: Charlie Wang. Did you know that? I wasn't aware of that until a few years ago. He's kind of a wacky businessman and owner and he's had some controversy surrounding him. But I wish him success. I can't think of any other Asian American that is a major league franchise owner, let alone minority interest owner.

Paul Kariya

I like seeing Park doing well. It's really cool to see Asians competing on the ice in a sport dominated by mostly white North Americans and Europeans.

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