"I don't want to say it's completely gone - racism in the game - because I believe it's not," Simmonds told Joey Vendetta of Sportsnet 590 on Wednesday. "I've had situations arise where I've had things said to me or done to me, but I think for myself it's kind of a motivator."
Simmonds grew up in Toronto, and played junior in the OHL with the Owen Sound Attack and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, but having played his entire pro career in the United States with the Los Angeles Kings and Flyers, he's noticed a difference between the two countries.
"Growing up in Canada, I think it was a little bit different. Obviously hockey is life in Canada. So you grow up as a young black kid and everyone is playing hockey around you, so it's easy to get into," Simmonds said.
"But I think it's just easier in Canada. I think the States is kind of, as it's going now - I don't want to say it's segregated, but I think you feel it a little bit more. You feel it a little bit more in the States, whereas in Canada it's - especially in Toronto, it's a melting pot. You've got every single culture. You've got everything here under the sun. It's like a rainbow. You just don't feel it as much when you're growing up in Canada. And I moved to the States I started to notice it a little bit more, but I'm always around good people so it doesn't have an effect on me."
Simmonds generally let's his play do the talking, and lately, his performance has spoken volumes, setting a career high in goals last season with 32.
- With h/t to Today's Slapshot