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Eight years later, former Penguins draft pick Jaden Lindo is making quite an impact in Pittsburgh

Matt Vensel, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Hockey

Last October, with the steamy summer heat having made way for hockey season down the hill, Penguins Foundation staffers set up inside the Ammon Recreation Center in the Hill District and greeted neighborhood kids at the door.

At one point, three boys strolled in. Here you go, guys. Take your hockey stick.

"Stick?" one boy cried out in disbelief. "I thought we were playing basketball!"

Jaden Lindo, a one-time Penguins 2014 draft pick who will soon enter his second year as the foundation's manager of community hockey programs, chimed in.

"No, we're doing a hockey clinic today," Lindo, 26, said with a grin. "Let's go."

The boy followed after Lindo, 6-foot-2 and still boasting the build of a pro-level athlete despite his affinity for Jake's Shakes from the Milkshake Factory. An hour or so later, nobody was having more fun. Well, except for maybe Lindo.

 

Jim Britt, executive director of the Penguins Foundation, said that type of exchange is common when they look to engage diverse Pittsburgh communities.

And moments like that are exactly why they are happy to have Lindo back with the organization, six years after they relinquished his rights as a NHL prospect.

Maybe that boy will never play hockey again. But at least he gave it a shot.

"The challenge, frankly, is that when we go into certain neighborhoods, we hear the same cliché," Britt said. "A 5-year-old kid or a 50-year-old man or woman will look at us and say, 'Black people don't play hockey.' [Lindo] can say, 'You know what? They do. Let me show you.' That's the first hurdle for us to clear."

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