Larry Woo faced racism in the hockey rink. For his NHL-drafted son, it’s a different story.

DALLAS — For Larry Woo, racism wasn’t a challenge. It was an inspiration.

He recalled that people would bring chopsticks to games he played as a teenager in Canada’s Western Hockey League to mock him. They would also make racist gestures and use racial slurs, he added.

Woo grew up in a Winnipeg suburb, about 15 houses away from an outdoor rink. Picking up the game as a 7-year-old, it took a few years and a few insults before he realized that his face was different than others on the ice.

“Stuff like that, I was very used to it by that time. I wouldn’t say it was much of a challenge,” Woo said, “It was a little bit more of an inspiration to show people I could play.”

Jett Woo reacts after being selected 37th overall by the Vancouver Canucks during the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 23, 2018 in Dallas, Texas.Bruce Bennett / Getty Images file

Fortunately, Woo’s son, defenseman Jett Woo, drafted in the second round of the 2018 National Hockey League (NHL) draft in Dallas by the Vancouver Canucks, hasn’t found it necessary to turn the other cheek, even though he plays in the same junior league his dad did.

“It’s a different era now,” Larry Woo noted. “I don’t think anybody’s ever stirred Jett up that way.”

For the Woo family, however, some things remain the same, like hard work.

“My grandma raised me,” Larry Woo recalled. “Both my parents worked all day and night at the restaurant.”

And according to Larry Woo’s cousin, Nobby Woo, their pig farmer ancestors, lured by the promise of work completing Canadian Pacific Railway track, emigrated from Kaiping, in the Guangdong province of China, in the 19th century. Parts of the Woo clan eventually settled in Winnipeg, opening different branches of the still-operating Chinese restaurant chain, Marigold.

“Rural China, had nothing. Work ethic is all we had,” Nobby Woo said.

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