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Wayne Simmonds
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Wayne Simmonds
Buffalo Sabres
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Buffalo Sabres

Zayde Wisdom still recalls a motivational speech he got from Wayne Simmonds almost a decade ago.

Back then, Wisdom was one of 150 kids at a charitable ball hockey tournament. He stood out among the children, winning the award and getting a message from Simmonds, who was the event host. "It was a very good experience because he was known, especially as a black kid growing up wanting to make the NHL," said Wisdom. "I never really had a lot of role models to look up to. ... That little push and that extra – 'You’re going to be there one day' – it was an unreal feeling. He helped me push myself more. There are times I still think about it. It’s one thing hearing it from your parents, but a guy who is already there and made it, coming from him it’s a whole different story." Wisdom had 29 goals and 59 points in 62 OHL games this season. The 17-year-old is projected to be an NHL draft selection. Mar 27 9:50 am (EST)

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