Everything we touch, we dominate! And this “white” sport is no exception. These unsung pioneers deserve a second look!
#1: Willie O'Ree made ice hockey history in 1958. He’s known for his tenacity and endurance, as he paved the way for other Black hockey players and never let the overt racism he encountered crush his love of the game. He was one of the first, but NOT the last to dominate the sport.
#2: Known for his speed, Quinton Byfield entered public awareness at 16, growing to become such a valuable player his draft two years later became legendary. He was the highest-drafted Black player in hockey history.
#3: Michael Nicholson’s “do it all” reputation made him an invaluable team player, and in 1968, due to this crucial leadership he was appointed captain of his team.
Unfortunately, it would be another 21 years before another Black captain led a pro hockey team, showing that racists didn’t see us as hockey contenders until we MADE them see us.
#4: John Paris Jr. suffered continual racist onslaughts as a player and coach, including a dummy hung from a rafter with his name and the N-word written on it! Despite this, he went on to coach his team to an IHL championship win!
These powerful narratives show we can do anything! Don't let anyone tell you something is just for white people – we're out here in every sport, every endeavor, frequently doing it BETTER than the racist haters!