Roos' Kinder Making A Difference Mentoring Players Of Color
Canton, NY – Former SUNY Canton three-sport student-athlete Sydney Kinder continues to make a difference in life after graduation. The Class of 2017 grad who played hockey, lacrosse and soccer for the Roos and was equally involved in philanthropic efforts off the playing surfaces during her time on campus, has shifted her efforts post-grad to empowering hockey players of color while pursuing a career in athletic training.
Leading the Charge
Kinder is the director of Hockey Players of Color (HPOC), a 501c3 nonprofit that works to provide mentorship to Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) players and their families as they matriculate through their hockey careers. Kinder is currently spearheading the campaign to retire Willie O'Ree's #22 jersey throughout the National Hockey League.
O’Ree became the league’s first African American player when he suited up for the Boston Bruins in 1958.
On January 12, 2021 the Bruins announced they will retire O’Ree’s #22 jersey.
“It was a pretty surreal feeling hearing the Bruins were going to retire Willie’s number,” Kinder said. When first embarking on this campaign a lot of the comments I received circled around ‘if the Bruins haven’t done it why would the league?’ It was a challenge, but I’m excited to have seen the conversation make its way to the Bruins to honor him in a way that he deserves.”
While getting his number retired by the Bruins is a great start it’s only a first step as Kinder continues to work to get his number retired throughout the league.
“The overall goal is to get Willie the recognition and the flowers he deserves,” she said. “Hockey would not be as diverse as it is if it wasn’t for Willie not only breaking the barrier, but continuing to push and lead diversity efforts in hockey.”
“Willie” – The Documentary
The documentary “Willie” is about the remarkable life of O’Ree, and saw its initial premiere in 2019 at the Hot Doc Films Festival before seeing its TV premiere on ESPN2 on February 17th, 2021.
O’Ree has had a profound impact on Kinder throughout her life as she first met Willie when she was 10 or 11.
“I still talk about how cool of a moment that is to meet your hero,” Kinder said. “He went from a man that I read about and knew of, to someone’s hand I’m now shaking and having a conversation with. The impact of Willie is that he is not a generation removed, his history and influence is felt now! That’s what makes it hit home so hard. The opportunities that I was afforded and earned, came off the path that Willie helped to pave.”
The documentary will continue to air on ESPN’s digital outlets throughout February, which is Black History Month. Kinder is also featured in some interviews in the documentary. There are also multiple showings available on MSG and the NHL network this weekend:
Friday 2/26 10:30 PM EST Saturday 2/27 11:30 AM EST & 5:30 PM EST
Sunday 2/28 7 PM EST
Involved with Her Teams & in the Community
During Kinder’s time on campus she earned the SUNY Canton Athletics department’s Make-A-Difference award in May of 2017. The New York City native was extremely active with the women's soccer, hockey and lacrosse teams in all their philanthropic endeavors, including hosting girl scouts and youth clinics.
During the Spring 2017 semester she organized a clothing drive for a local family who lost everything in a fire. While studying, playing three sports and being involved in the community at SUNY Canton she also helped other student-athletes with personal training and workout programs.
Outside of her efforts with HPOC Kinder is currently an Athletic Trainer intern with Auburn University’s softball team. Check out the below Q & A with Kinder as she reflects back on her SUNY Canton experience.
Q & A
Q: Please briefly describe your career path
A: At SUNY Canton, I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Health & Fitness Promotion. From there I went on to coach youth hockey for a year prior to attending Texas A & M University for graduate school. I earned my Master's degree in Athletic Training. I now serve as an intern Athletic Trainer for Auburn University's softball team. I am also the director of Hockey Players of Color (HPOC) movement - which is a 501c3 nonprofit that works to provide mentorship to BIPOC players and their families as they matriculate through their hockey careers. I am currently spearheading the campaign to retire Willie O'Ree's #22 jersey throughout the NHL.
Q: How would you summarize your SUNY Canton experience?
A: I had a great SUNY Canton experience. The faculty was very supportive at every turn, and the athletics department truly made you feel like a family not only on your team.
Q: What was your favorite part about being a member of your team while at SUNY Canton?
A: Knowing you have a full support system behind you, made making mistakes easier as you know you had people ready to support and educate you on how to do things better.
Q: What is your favorite sports related memory from your time at SUNY Canton?
A: Ooofff, that is tough to say. In being on multiple teams, I was able to experience the highs and lows a season can bring in different settings. I think my most cherished memory is seeing the growth of the lacrosse and ice hockey programs. They were young in their birth and it’s a surreal feeling being a part of something much bigger than yourself.
Q: What was your favorite non-sports related memory from your time on campus?
A: Going to my suitemate's nursing pinning!
Q: What advice would you give to current student-athletes?
A: Enjoy it. It truly does go by faster than you think. Canton is one hell of a place. #RoosRising