The Athletic’s Max Bultman posted a superb article about Detroit native Jalen Smereck this morning, discussing the racial incident that the former Donbass Donetsk forward faced last month, Smereck’s decision to move on to the German league, and noting Smereck’s Detroit-area ties:
Thursday, the DEL — Germany’s top league — announced Smereck has signed with the Bietigheim Steelers, the first of many next steps to come.
It can be easy to forget, though, that while so many were introduced to Smereck in the last few weeks, his story did not start in Ukraine. It began in Detroit, where Smereck grew up, honed his game and has already become a young leader in his community.
And everything in his journey so far suggests that story is still only beginning.
“As the world gets to know him, they’ll really see how great of a gift this kid is,” said Jason McCrimmon, the founder of the Detroit Ice Dreams hockey program, who has known Smereck since he was young.
“Not only to the game of hockey, but to the city of Detroit and to the people that surround him. He’s going to do very, very big things. … I think he’s going to be one of those monumental kids.”