Moore loving life as youth hockey coach, BTM manager
Henry-Mychal Moore is a youth hockey coach with the Arizona Hockey Union and a manager with Behind The Mask at its Scottsdale location.
He also grew up playing for the Polar Bears and DYHA Firebirds and serving as a captain for P.F. Chang’s.
Sounds like a normal life, right? Take into consideration that Moore, who is black, has been involved in sport that traditionally doesn’t have many minorities, and the life he has lived is pretty inspirational.
He has faced obstacles over his lifetime, knocking them all down to be able to live a satisfying life in the Valley.
“I’ve dealt with racist incidents while playing and coaching,” admitted Moore. “I’ve been called derogatory names and pretty much everything else in the book. When I was younger, it absolutely angered me when it happened. As I got older, I looked at it from the perspective that if someone had to stoop to level of ignorance than I was doing my job on the ice because they weren’t mentally in the game.”
Hockey is also a game where most people don’t see color and would rather focus on players’ skills.
“I would agree with that statement for the most part,” Moore said. “Hockey players see hockey players and unfortunately, there are always individuals who are ignorant regardless of the group of people and they just happen to be loudest.
“I wouldn’t limit this to just black hockey players, but to people of all non-white backgrounds, continue to push yourself no matter how hard it gets because someone paved the way for you to succeed. You just have to put in the effort. The game of hockey will give back what you put into it. That’s just a life lesson in general.”
Moore added that he was taught to not judge a book by its cover but by its contents.
“I was raised to judge individuals based off of character, integrity and the choices they make as individuals, not skin color, as I feel a majority do,” Moore said. “They should actually sit and have that uncomfortable conversation with open minds and egos set aside to see the other side because when it comes to hockey, we’re all just here for the game.”
Born in San Angelo, Tex., Moore’s family moved to Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska, where he lived until 2001 when his father retired from the Air Force. The family then relocated to Arizona where Moore’s parents originally met in the late 1970s.
“My neighbor in Alaska had a rink in his backyard,” remembered Moore. “He let me borrow a pair of skates and I never looked back. The discipline of the game of hockey is what got me hooked. The more I invested into hockey, the more I got from it. I love the challenge of hockey from all aspects.”
Now coaching and working full time at BTM with guys like Randy Exelby and Beau Saugling, Moore agrees that hockey is life.
“My wife says she falls to third on the list after our two daughters and hockey,” said Moore. “Coaching is my way to give back to the game that gave me more then I could’ve ever imagined. Working at Behind The Mask, I get to show people why hockey is the greatest sport, whether you’re six or 64, which is the oldest person I’ve fitted for new gear.
“Randy and Beau have done so much for the hockey community. Randy took a chance 26 years ago and hasn’t looked back. Beau has pretty much been here from the beginning. He helped train me when I first started coming in after school 17 years ago to lace skates in the back room of the old Peoria location. The bond between the employees is similar to a hockey team. Everyone has to pull their own weight to achieve a common goal.”
— Matt Mackinder
(Aug. 12, 2020)