Khaira Pride of Punjabi-Canadian Hockey Fans

Jujhar “J. J.” Khaira (born August 13, 1994) is a Canadian professional ice hockey Center currently playing for the Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League (NHL). Khaira was drafted 63rd overall by the Oilers in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Khaira is just the third Punjabi player to appear in the NHL, after making his NHL debut against the Pittsburgh Penguins on November 28, 2015, he also became the third player of South Asian descent to play in the NHL, after Robin Bawa, and Manny Malhotra.

After two seasons in the British Columbia Hockey League with the Prince George Spruce Kings Khaira and after he was drafted by the Oilers, Khaira committed to play collegiate hockey with Michigan Tech of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. At the completion of his freshman season in 2012–13 with Huskies, Khaira left college to pursue a major junior career closer to home in the Western Hockey League with the Everett Silvertips. On August 7, 2013, he was signed to a three-year entry-level contract with the Edmonton Oilers. In the following 2013–14 season, Khaira posted 43 points in 59 games with the Silvertips. At the elimination in first-round of the post-season, Khaira then made his professional debut with the Oilers AHL affiliate, the Oklahoma City Barons, joining the club for their post-season run.

He suited up for the Oilers playing on a line with Anton Lander and Matt Hendricks. Robin Bawa and Manny Malhotra are the other two Punjabi players to have played in the NHL. Bawa played 61 games in four seasons, including 42 with the 1992-93 San Jose Sharks. Malhotra had a storied 991-game career and is currently a free agent.

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