Akim's Story

Akim Aliu is a professional ice hockey player and philanthropist.

Born in Okene, Nigeria to a Nigerian father and Ukrainian mother, Akim moved to Kiev, Ukraine at two years of age. After spending seven years in the Ukraine, Akim and his family immigrated to Toronto, Canada. Akim and his family had a difficult time making ends meet as new immigrants to Canada, his father Tai delivered pizzas and mother cleaned hotel rooms. Determined to create a brighter future for their 2 young boys, they persevered.

Akim was ten years old when he was first was introduced to the game of hockey, starting with a pair of garage sale skates, four sizes too big. Within three years, Akim was playing for the prestigious Toronto Marlboros Hockey Club. At the age 16, Akim was drafted in the first round, sixth overall, by the Windsor Spitfires in the Ontario Hockey League Draft. Two years after being drafted into the OHL, the Chicago Blackhawks made Akim their second pick in the second round of the National Hockey League Draft. After a successful four-year OHL career, splitting time between Sudbury Wolves and London Knights, Akim officially turned pro at 19 years old with the Rockford Ice Hogs of the American Hockey League before making the jump to the National Hockey League (NHL) with the Calgary Flames in 2011.

Akim has been a leader in the drive for change within the Hockey community, and society as a whole, fighting for racial equality, diversity and for increased accessibility for BIPOC youth into sports, particularly the game of hockey. He has been recognized by Maclean’s magazine as being one of the Top 50 most influential Canadians in 2020 and has also dawned the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine in 2021.

See Akim's interview with Ron Maclean

Akim interviews with Ron Maclean telling his experiences with inequality and how it changed his perspective on and off the ice.