Nazem Kadri joined the rest of the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday in celebrating the team's recent Stanley Cup title, but it held extra meaning for the Kadri, first Muslim to lift the trophy.
Thousands of fans lined the streets of the Mile High City to celebrate their ice hockey club's first championship win in 20 years.
The Stanley Cup champion posted photos of himself on social media with trophy with a caption that read: “Nothing left to say. World champs 2022.”
Kadri and his family were often the target of Islamophobic attacks on social media during the play-offs, which were condemned by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“The appalling racist and Islamophobic rhetorical attacks to which Mr Kadri was subjected demonstrate the seriousness of the threat posed by anti-Muslim bigotry and racism,” communications director Ibrahim Hooper said in a press release.
The Avalanche star overcame a broken thumb received during the play-offs to score the winning goal in overtime in the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“You work your whole life for this and now it’s here,” he said after the win. “Incredible feeling.”
The Canadian resident of Lebanese descent said he hopes to take his daughter, Naylah, to Lebanon one day so she can understand where her family came from.
“I want to explain to her what it means to be Muslim in North America,” he wrote in a Players' Tribune article last month. “Being a father, I see so much more in myself than I ever have before.
Kadri was drafted seventh overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2009 before the Avalanche acquired him in a 2021 trade to strengthen their championship prospects.
During the 2021-2022 Stanley Cup play-offs, he scored seven goals and recorded eight assists. He made his first play-off hat-trick in a 6-3 win against the St Louis Blues in May.
He is one of two Muslims in the NHL along with Nail Yakupov, who was selected first overall in the 2012 draft by the Edmonton Oilers and plays for the Blues.