By Keith Russell


DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Al Montoya is the Dallas Stars new director of community outreach, but the title he will have forever is that of first Cuban American to ever play in the NHL.

Montoya says, “It’s an honor. My grandparents fled communist Cuba. They left it all behind. There are so many countries that wouldn’t have us but it was the United States that gave us our freedom. Everything that hockey provided to me. It’s such a privilege and something I look to pay forward.”

As a goalie, Montoya’s job was to stop the puck.

Al Montoya #35 of the Edmonton Oilers warms up prior to the game against the San Jose Sharks on March 14, 2018 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Now, his hope is to inspire other Hispanic and Latin American people to score big in a sport where there’s a need for more representation.

He explains, “We know this is a largely Caucasian game for better or worse we’re here to make the difference and the Dallas Stars are at the forefront of that and that’s why it was easy for me to come down here and grow the game.”

And Montoya understands, seeing more minorities playing the sport, is not the only way to do that.

He says, “I want this arena to feel like your safe space. It doesn’t matter where you come from. And it doesn’t matter your background.”