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Aliu Explains His Comeback: ‘Want him to see that Dad didn’t give up’



Why is Akim Aliu making a comeback?

The San Jose Sharks organization surprised the hockey world last Wednesday with the news that they were signing Aliu to a tryout with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda.

The 34-year-old Aliu, who has had seven surgeries on his left knee since 2021, last played professionally in 2020.

And, it’s not as if Nigerian-born, Ukrainian-raised Aliu’s hockey career before that was storybook.

“The game has obviously taken a lot away from me through some of my experiences that are well documented,” Aliu said on Friday, after Barracuda practice.

There’s no timeline yet as to when Aliu will play for the San Jose Sharks organization.

In 2005, the 16-year-old refused to participate in a Windsor Spitfires hazing ritual. Teammate Steve Downie responded by cross-checking Aliu in practice, knocking out seven of his teeth.

From 2008 to 2010, the 2007 Chicago Blackhawks’ second-round draft pick was subjected to racial epithets from his Rockford IceHogs head coach Bill Peters.

In 2011, Colorado Eagles equipment manager Tony Deynzer greeted Aliu at a team Halloween party in blackface.

“I think all the incidents I’ve been through since I was 16,” Aliu said, “I was the only person of color in every single room I was in. I just didn’t feel like I had any voice to speak up just because of how much control the establishment has over you, over your career.

“You just got to keep your mouth shut and keep your head down and do what you’re told. So that was a really difficult place to live and walk into an arena everyday, walking on eggshells.”

But what the game has taken away, Aliu wants to give back.

Aliu also explains why he wanted to play specifically for San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier…

Read The Full Story at NBC Sports Bay Area

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