Surrey's Jujhar Khaira scores his first NHL goal
Khaira is the 3rd player of Punjabi descent in NHL history
When Surrey's Jujhar Khaira scored the first goal of his NHL career on Monday night, his family had no idea.
Jujhar's father, mother and sister had recorded the game, so they could watch it together at their home in Langley.
"We were about an hour behind the live feed and my daughter's phone started going off with Tweets and stuff," said Jujhar's father Sukh.
"I knew he either had a goal or he was in a fight. I was hoping for a goal. That's much easier on his Mom."
Sukh got his wish.
Jujhar took a pass from Mark Letestu and snapped the puck by Arizona goaltender Mike Smith, giving the Edmonton Oilers a 2-0 lead over the Coyotes.
The goal held up as the game winner.
"Growing up as a kid, you know playing street hockey and all that, you just always picture it in your head when you're playing," Jujhar said after the game.
"It's a reality now and it feels good."
Khaira is the third player of Punjabi descent to play in the NHL, joining Robin Bawa and Manny Malholtra.
Bhupinder Hundal, who is part of the Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi broadcast, says the South Asian community has been pulling for Khaira since he was drafted by the Oilers in 2012.
"Because this community has had to endure and sacrifice, our parents and grandparents, it's really rewarding when you see young people achieve success in new areas, he said.
"A hundred years ago people would come here and they couldn't bring their families. They didn't have their right to vote and they couldn't own property. Now Jujhar Khaira can play hockey for the Edmonton Oilers."
Khaira's brother Sahvan, 19, plays for the Swift Current Broncos in the Western Hockey League.
Khaira made his debut with the Oilers last season but didn't score in 15 games with the team.
He started this year with Edmonton's AHL affiliate in Bakersfield, where he collected 18 points in 24 games.
Oilers coach Todd McLellan says he's impressed with Khaira's progress.
"It's very exciting for a young man, it doesn't matter who it is, to score his first goal," said Edmonton coach Todd McLellan.
"It's not only exciting for that whole individual, but the whole team is happy for him. To get his first here at home, the winner, that's a feather in his cap."