The word ‘cocky’ gets thrown around a lot in the sports world. Cocky is defined as “having and showing confidence in a way that is annoying to other people”, and this definition is very broad. In the NHL along with many other leagues, there is a celebration whenever a goal is made (such as an NFL touchdown dance). Players run into one another, jump up and down and have 10 seconds to enjoy what they just did, but to many consumers of the sport, when the same player – P.K. Subban in this case – is celebrating, “cocky” is the word they use.  Every ounce of excitement after a goal immediately turned fans and players off throughout the duration of P.K. Subban’s career with the Montreal Canadiens.

P.K. is a character. He has a large smile, and an even bigger personality, outfits and character quirks to match. Whether you’re a fan inside the arena, an opposing player, or fan watching from home, when he’s happy, you feel it. P.K’s personality is different from a lot of other NHL athletes. It’s hard to let your personality shine through in a sport where a lot of players are reserved mainly because it is better to not be too outspoken.

There’s no doubting that some other players are just there to play the game that they love. However, this shouldn’t be an excuse to shame the players that show their emotions. P.K. lets every emotion that he has on and off the ice be known. As one of the few black athletes in the NHL with the spotlight constantly on him.

P.K. doesn’t let the ‘other’ define him.

He shows every ounce of his personality from every moment he is on your TV screen. He shows a predominantly white fan base what a black man in 2017 looks like, from his swag in the outfits he wears to the excitement that surges through him when he celebrates his goals. Beyond the ice, P.K. spent a lot of his time in Montreal working with the Montreal Children’s Hospital, donating $10 million dollars to them, something an athlete hasn’t done before.

P.K. is leaving his mark on the NHL beyond the ice, a legacy that expands into charity work that he is passionate about, and you feel it whenever those kids at the Montreal Children’s hospital get a visit from P.K. (the only reason they have for now supporting the Nashville Predators).

P.K. Subban has perfectly molded himself despite constant backlash. He gives his all in every game. He celebrates after every goal, and never misses the mark when it comes to his suits and attire. We all need a player like P.K. to look up to and admire, one that won’t back down, and is unapologetically himself while making sure that he puts his best foot forward in every game. This is probably why he has finally found his groove with the Nashville Predators and is currently in the Stanley Cup Finals.

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