Most people associate hockey players with white North Americans. However, numerous black hockey players are helping to change the league’s perception and increase its diversity. These hockey pioneers help to attract young, diverse players to the game.
Blacks on skates are still a rare sight in the National Hockey League, where there are only 25 black players. The sport is devoid of diversity in a league where the majority of players are white, and the puck is black for three periods.
Now we will read the whole article and learn about African American hockey players in the NHL.
The 10 Best African American Hockey Players in the NHL
Here are ten outstanding hockey pioneers in commemoration of Black History Month.
1. Willie O’Ree
Willie O’Ree was the National Hockey League’s first black player. He is often referred to as the “Jackie Robinson of hockey” for breaking the color barrier in hockey.
He appeared in a few National Hockey League games with the Boston Bruins in 1958. O’Ree faced prejudice in several contexts in the United States.
He did not, however, give up and is now a pioneer in bringing black players into the sport.
2. Ray Emery
Ray Emery had an impact on the game’s result. He might be one of the most well-known black players right now or in recent years.
The goaltender formerly played in Ottawa before joining the KHL. He went on to play in Philadelphia before sustaining a hip injury that has kept him out since.
3. Georges Laraque
Georges Laraque is widely recognized as one of the toughest players in the game. He was known for his fighting ability on all of the teams he played for, particularly the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Montreal Canadiens.
After his retirement, he left his mark on Canadian politics.
4. Tony McKegney
Though not the first black player in NHL history, Tony McKegney is often considered the first of his kind to make a significant impact.
He joined the league in 1978 and had a prolific scoring career. He held the record for most points scored by a black player until Jarome Iginla broke it in 2002.
5. Kevin Weekes
Kevin Weekes encountered a lot of hostility during his career. He overcame difficulties and served as an inspiration to young sportsmen.
He became the first black host of Hockey Night in Canada after retiring from the sport. He may now be seen on the NHL NetAnson Carter
6. Anson Carter
Anson Carter is another name on this list who has begun to have an impact on the game.
His NHL career began with the Washington Capitals. He appeared in the NHL for eight different teams. He afterward joined a Swiss national league.
7. Mike Grier
Mike Grier was the first black player in NHL history. The black players that came before him were all of the Canadian descent, making Grier the first African-American NHL player of actual American ancestry.
Grier made his NHL debut with the San Jose Sharks in 1996. He now plays for the Buffalo Sabres. Grier was a pioneer in exposing black Americans to hockey.
8. Jarome Iginla
Jarome Iginla is a trailblazer in a number of fields.
First, in 2002, while playing for the Canadian men’s ice hockey team, he was the first black male player to take up a hockey gold medal.
Then, in 2003, he was named captain of the Calgary Flames, making him the NHL’s first black captain.
Iginla’s temperament shows how a hockey player should conduct himself outside of the rink. He is an excellent role model.
9. Grant Fuhr
Grant Fuhr is regarded as the finest black hockey player.
Wayne Gretzky has always called him the greatest goalie in history.
He was the first African-American baseball player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He is an inspiration to young hockey players of all races.
10. Evander Kane
Evander Kane and other young stars who are good at attacking help to grow the game among young black fans.
The Atlanta Thrashers have been accused of purposefully recruiting black players in order to enhance attendance at Philips Arena from the area’s mostly black population. That might be a genuine allegation or not.
Kane is one of the Thrashers’ five African-American players, along with Dustin Byfuglien, Nigel Dawes, Johnny Oduya, and Anthony Stewart.
Diversity in the NHL
The NHL should be commended for aggressively increasing diversity across the league. Prior to the start of each season, each athlete must attend a diversity training lecture.
The league has made it clear via bans and punishments that any racially motivated verbal abuse will not be tolerated; trash-talking is an undesirable element of almost all athletic events.
The NHL/USA Hockey Diversity Task Force’s director of youth development is a non-profit organization whose goal is to get kids of different races and cultures interested in hockey.
In 2003, Gerald Coleman became the first player from the NHL Diversity Program to be drafted by an NHL team.
Before joining Tampa’s AHL team in Springfield, Massachusetts, he filled in as a goalie for 20 minutes in one NHL game.
Complete sets of hockey equipment may cost hundreds of dollars. In 1997, the NHL and USA Hockey established the Old Equipment Bank to encourage people to donate their old hockey equipment to economically disadvantaged children.
Who in the NHL broke the color barrier?
Willie O’Ree, who broke the NHL’s color barrier in 1958, became the first black man to be honored under the “Builders” category, which recognizes persons who contributed to the evolution of the sport in some way when he was entered alongside five others on Monday and not a minute too soon.
In addition to his pioneering play for the Boston Bruins decades ago, O’Ree, 83, has been a representative of the sport in a way that few individuals of any heritage have been throughout the years.
In 1998, he was appointed director of youth development by the NHL. Since then, he has served as a game ambassador in a way that many of his contemporaries never had to.
The Number of Black NHL Hockey Players
African-American or black hockey players make up 6.8% of the total.
According to USA Today, 97% of NHL players are white, with the remaining 3% being people of other races.
Black people make up 26 percent of the remaining 3 percent of ethnic groups. Twenty of the twenty-six black hockey players are Canadian, while the other six are American.
As a result, what is the racial makeup of the NHL? The proportion of Canadians in the league fell from 75% in the 1980s to roughly 50% now.
In 2011, 93% of NHL players were white, with the remaining 7% belonging to other ethnic groups.
In 2021, what percentage of the NHL will be black? The National Hockey League has 93% white players and 7% players of other races. The league currently has 32 African-American players.
Similarly, what is the most common race in hockey? White people account for 78.0% of all hockey players, making them the most common racial group.
Hispanic or Latino people make up 7.2% of the population, while African Americans make up 6.8%.
Furthermore, which NHL teams have black players? The Buffalo Sabres, Edmonton Oilers, and New York Rangers have all had 12 black players wear their jerseys.
Currently, 53.3% of NHL players are Canadian, which is an incredible figure. That is more than half the league.
When did the first black man play in the NHL?
- O’Ree made his NHL debut with the Boston Bruins on January 18, 1958, against the Montreal Canadiens, becoming the league’s first black player.
Has the NHL ever had a black captain?
- While playing for the Chicago Blackhawks in 1989, Dirk Graham became the league’s first black captain.
The NHL has far fewer African American hockey players than other major sports.
At this point in the 2016-17 NHL season, just around twenty of the roughly 700 active players are black, or less than 3% for you stats geeks.
African Americans reinforced their place by joining the NHL.
People Also Read: