Green­way

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - SPORTS -

ican kids like me do­ing the same thing.”

Green­way, a 6-foot-6, 230-pound ju­nior for­ward at Bos­ton Univer­sity, has al­ways been aware of the color of his skin, though he said it never had a huge im­pact on him grow­ing up in Can­ton, N.Y.

“My whole life I’ve been around white peo­ple,” said Green­way, whose mother Shan­non Sul­li­van is white. “I mean, I play hockey, and it’s no se­cret there are more white peo­ple play­ing the game.”

That be­came the norm for him and his younger brother, JD Green­way, a sopho­more de­fense­man at the Univer­sity of Wis­con­sin. They played the game be­cause ev­ery­one else did, never re­ally think­ing about the fact that one of them might some­day go on to make his­tory.

“To be hon­est, I didn’t even know that I would po­ten­tially be the first African-Amer­i­can to play for Team USA in the Olympics un­til a lit­tle bit be­fore I found out I ac­tu­ally made the team,” Green­way said. “It was never re­ally in my head. I just looked at my­self as an­other kid that’s worked re­ally hard to get to this point.”

Green­way was drafted by the Min­nesota Wild in the se­cond round of the 2015 NHL Draft and likely could have signed a pro­fes­sional con­tract at some point last sea­son. In­stead, he chose to stay in school, and with NHL play­ers barred from play­ing in the Olympics, he’s had the chance to live out a child­hood dream.

“It’s def­i­nitely pretty crazy that I’m here now,” he said. “I never thought I’d be here at the Olympics be­fore I grad­u­ated col­lege, you know what I mean? It’s been un­be­liev­able. It’s some­thing I’ll never for­get. I’m very for­tu­nate.”

Green­way knows he’s in Korea only be­cause NHL play­ers are not. He even men­tioned other AfricanAmer­i­can play­ers, such as Win­nipeg Jets de­fense­man and Min­nesotan Dustin Byfuglien and Colum­bus Blue Jack­ets de­fense­man Seth Jones as guys that could ha bro­ken the bar­rier if cir­cum­stances had been dif­fer­ent.

“It just worked out that I was the first per­son,” Green­way said. “I def­i­nitely won’t be the last.”

While he’s fo­cused on bring­ing home a gold medal, Green­way said he’ll re­turn to school after the Olympics, note­wor­thy be­cause he could tech­ni­cally sign with the Wild at that point.

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