PHOENIX — It has been a few months since the Arizona Coyotes named Xavier Gutierrez as the club's president and CEO, the first Latino in NHL history to hold that position.
Gutierrez said he remembers the first time he saw the game live.
“It was fast, it was furious, and it was amazing, and I said, ‘Where have I been and why have I been missing out on hockey?'" he said.
"It was wonderful."
Now Gutierrez is working to bring hockey to the Valley’s Hispanic community.
Gutierrez held a clinic led by Coyotes forward Vinnie Hinostroza for kids at Chicanos Por la Causa in Phoenix on Wednesday.
“It’s great for these kids, I hope they enjoyed it and they continue to play,” said Hinostroza.
Many of these kids never held a hockey stick before, never mind learning puck handling skills.
“For me it’s extra special, just coming out there and seeing all these kids, trying something new. You can tell most of them have never held a hockey stick,” said Hinostoza.
Gutierrez said he remembers coming from Mexico when he was just five and using sports to feel at home.
“My first experience was in Mexico, I’m a Chivas fan from Guadalajara. Soccer was my first sport," said Gutierrez.
As he now leads an NHL franchise, it’s Gutierrez's Hispanic heritage that guides his path.
“It’s core to who I am; it defines my cultural sensitivities, my food tastes, but more importantly it is an incredible community that supports me and guides me," Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez said he plans to bring concerts and food festivals to the Arizona Coyotes' games next season.