Guest Post: Model Citizen, P.K. Subban

(Photo by Lucas Oleniuk/Toronto Star)

All Habs Hockey Magazine is proud to provide a platform for young guest writers to express their views on important issues.  Today, we present a fan piece on the impact of Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, on and off the ice.  Your comments are welcome.

Posted by Serisha Iyar, Guest Contributor, All Habs Hockey Magazine

(Photo by Lucas Oleniuk/Toronto Star)
(Photo by Lucas Oleniuk/Toronto Star)

MONTREAL, QC. – Ever since his entry into the NHL, he has been the centre of attention with all the controversy that seems to unfairly, surround him. His is a huge breakthrough story in today’s National Hockey League for a variety of reasons yet, is focused only on one. The NHL has a supernova imbedded amongst its superstars. A player who somehow never seems to get the full credit he deserves and is constantly the face of criticism from the hockey world. Of course the story of the player that has been the forefront of headlines since his rookie debut, is the story of non-other than Montreal Canadiens defenseman, P.K. Subban.

Everything has been said about the incredibly skilled Subban, some praise his refreshing and exciting play; others condemn it as flashy and showboating. Some offer his journey to the NHL as a leading example for up-and-coming professional hockey players. Others somehow manage to dismiss this application completely and instead diminish his efforts. While some of the discussion surrounding Subban is centred around race, this one is not. This story is one about culture. Canadian culture, hockey culture and how a player such as P.K. Subban has the ability to transcend ethnic, cultural and geographical borders.

The following can be noted about Subban; he is Canadian, he is the son of immigrants, he is highly successful and immensely talented and, he just so happens to be black. All of these characteristics considered, P.K. Subban highlights the glory that is the supposed “Canadian Dream.” However, more often than not, the stories written about Subban involve harsh critique of his style of play and judgements about his attitude and behaviour. On the other side of the spectrum, there are stories that depict P.K. Subban as the person the people of Montreal and Habs fans across the globe, love and admire. Here, he is seen as the charismatic character that is often smiling and having fun with fans, the ridiculously talented, key player that produces on the ice for his team, and the leader that shines off the ice in support of his community.

Both the positive and negative articles and news stories about him are indicative of the impact Subban has had on Canadian society. In so many ways he has broken the barriers of hockey and created a name for himself in not the hockey world but the global community.

When P.K. Subban steps out onto the ice he represents himself, his family, his team and his country. Growing up in Canada warrants a certain amount of individual character. Instead of a designated Canadian identity, citizens of this vast country have ancestry that stems from all across the world. Subban is no exception. The drastically different people who call Canada home create a unique environment with a diverse, multicultural atmosphere. However, as the stereotype goes, there is still one piece of Canada that will forever remain all encompassing.


As it has always been, hockey is Canada’s game. Hockey and Canada go hand in hand in the eyes of not only Canadians but often in the eyes of the international community as well. The Winter Olympics held in Vancouver back in 2010 showcased this to the rest of the world when Canada defeated the USA in both women and men’s hockey on home soil. As aforementioned, Canada’s identity is one that is quite complex, diverse and unique.

As with anywhere, individuals across the nation are constantly looking up to those who have achieved their own dreams. But, in a place so diverse, it is sometimes hard to find someone who fits the ideal you wish to see yourself as. Subban has largely been identified as somebody young hockey players can look up to, particularly those children and teenagers of colour. Watching someone who you can literally see yourself in, succeed in such a competitive market is nothing short of encouraging especially, in a country so multicultural.

Nevertheless, Subban embodies more than just being a role model for a certain group of individuals. He also represents hard work, determination and thus, highlights a universal manner in which success can be achieved. People look to him as a leading example for much more than just his ethnic background. When you see the work P.K. and his family have accomplished with the Hyundai Hockey Helpers or the example he sets for his peers when he spends a day giving back to the community in some shape or form. You see more than a hockey player, you see a Canadian icon that exemplifies all we hope to become.

The work Subban puts in on and off the ice regardless of the colour of his skin is the reason why he is not just a Canadiens fan favourite, but a favourite of many others across the globe. The same hockey player who lifts the Bell Centre crowd to their feet on a nightly basis is the same one that manages to get the TD Garden, Air Canada Centre and just about everywhere else, riled up. It is the same person who charms as an interviewer for the NHL awards and on occasion, even gives Montrealers their local weather forecast.

Similar to how once upon a time an elite Finnish hockey player by the name of Saku Koivu managed to steal the hearts of Canadian hockey fans and win them over for eternity. P.K. Subban is entering a realm where he too is crossing all borders and becoming much more than just your typical, Canadian, hockey player.


  1. Awesome, so true that Canada’s diversity is a huge part of our identity.. and hockey of course! Love this, love Subban!


  2. Enjoyed reading this! Your writing style is fantastic and felt like your connections to the Olympics were well justified and explained!

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