Dougie Hammilton

The game of hockey is growing in popularity amongst people of Indian descent. While there are only three players to date of Indian descent to have played in the NHL (Manny Maholtra, Robin Bawa, and Jujhar Khaira), Hockey Night in Canada has been broadcast in Punjabi since 2008, and has been broadcasting ever since. The show is hosted by Harnarayan Singh, Randip Janda, and Harpreet Pandher.

Jujhar Khaira was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in 2012, 63rd overall. He played his junior hockey in the British Columbia Hockey League(BCHL) with the Prince George Spruce Kings.. After completing his career there and being drafted by Oilers, Khaira went to play at Michigan Tech University. After just one season with the Huskies, he left to go play with the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League(WHL). He made his NHL debut in 2015 with the Oilers against the Pittsburgh Penguins on November 28th. To date, Khaira has played parts of six full seasons with the Edmonton Oilers, amassing 73 points in those seasons. He continues to be a mainstay with the Oilers and should continue to play in the NHL for many years to come.Cale Makar

While Khaira is the name today, Manny Maholtra(born Emmanual Noveen Maholtra) may have been a big reason for increased interest from hockey players of Indian heritage. Maholta was drafted seventh overall by the New York Rangers, after spending two years with the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League, including one year as their captain. Maholta would spend 18 years playing in the NHL amassing 295 points in his professional career in 991 career games. He gained a reputation as a two-way centre and one of the most dependable face-off men in the league, with a career 56% win percentage. Immediately after announcing his retirement, he joined the Vancouver Canucks as a development coach in 2016, and then became and assistant coach with the Canucks the following year, and then became an assistant in Toronto in 2020 where he continues to coach today

Harnarayan Singh, was born in Brooks Alberta. His parents immigrated in Canada from India in the 1960’s. Singh attending broadcasting school at Royal Mount University in Calgary, and started an internship at TSN in 2004. After leaving TSN, he started working at the Canadian Broadcast Corporation(CBC) as a news affiliate in Calgary. In January of 2021, he broadcast his first game in English for Sportsnet with the Vancouver Canucks facing off against the Edmonton Oilers.

With players of Indian descent, and Punjabi specific broadcasts, we should continue to see more and more players playing professional hockey who are of Indian heritage, and interest in hockey continue to grow as the groundwork has been laid, and for success in that specific community, and has created a blueprint to grow the game of hockey into other “non-traditional” hockey communities.