Blackhawks goaltender Ray Emery stood in front of the Catalyst Circle Rock Elementary fourth graders with some sound advice.

“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes,” he said at the school’s career day. “Mistakes are fine, as long as you take a lesson from them.”

Emery’s made his mistakes, and has learned their lessons. And as February, and Black History Month, drew to a close, he was one of several successful panelists urging kids to reach for their dreams, and go for them in the right way.

Tuesday’s panel stressed to the kids the importance of staying on a nonviolent path, and aspiring to reach their goals. The event was in support of the “Smarty Pants are Leaders” non-violence pledge that the Catalyst Circle Rock students recently signed. Emery’s fellow panelists included poet J. Ivy, jazz saxophonist Victor Goines, journalist Donna B. Pierce, singer Tarrey Torae and Dr. Sonja Boone.

“That’s true in hockey and in life,” Emery said of mistakes. “We’ve all made them, and normally you take the best lesson from them. As a goalie you can apply that. You make a mistake, let a goal in, you learn from it. It’s like kids and life: we all kind of slip but it’s how you get back up.”

Emery hasn’t slipped too much for the Blackhawks this season. The veteran has been exemplary in his backup goaltending role, sporting an 8-0-0 record with a 2.08 goals-against average. He’s been a big part of the Blackhawks’ 16-0-3 start, especially when Corey Crawford was out for nearly two weeks with an upper-body injury.