August 25, 2006

Hockey history: The Black Ice Hockey and Sports Hall of Fame conference starts today in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

George Fosty, co-author of Black Ice and Splendid is the Sun, has studied the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes: "There’s 300 (black) players that played serious hockey prior to 1958 that nobody knows about. It’s time to say, ‘Hey, we’ve missed something here.’"

posted by Amateur to hockey at 05:15 AM - 17 comments

A fine post, amateur. Much like the Negro League ballplayers, these guys should be recognized and given due consideration for higher honors, perhaps.

posted by mjkredliner at 08:34 AM on August 25

We've totally missed something. I had no idea this league even existed and I eat sleep and breathe hockey. Occassionally I burp baseball. Some of these cats sound like they could have had a shot at the big time, and 300 is a huge number. given that there are only about 700 dudes in the NHL now.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:21 AM on August 25

Holy... umm.. What??? I had no clue this was out there....

posted by myshtigo at 09:48 AM on August 25

Thanks, Amateur. I'm a Hockey neophyte and this just intrigues me even more about the sport.

posted by yzelda4045 at 10:08 AM on August 25

I have to reitterate what Weedy and myshtigo said; I had absolutely no idea such a league ever existed. The recognition these guys are finally receiving is WAY past due. Thanks for the post, Amateur.

posted by willthrill72 at 11:12 AM on August 25

Fascinating.

posted by Desert Dog at 11:14 AM on August 25

Nice links Amateur. I had no idea such a league was ever around. Just curious anyone know the first black NHL player? I know Grant Fuhr is the first black hall of famer. Does anyone have a theroy as to why there aren't more African-American skill players in the NHL? Besides Anson Carter i can't thnk of one (Weeks and the Sens goalie with the badass attitude are excluded from this discussion) Sorry for the digression.

posted by HATER 187 at 11:39 AM on August 25

I too eat and breathe hockey and had no clue. Very facinating post. I just might go and see what I might possibly dig up on here and the library to learn more.

posted by Psycho at 12:02 PM on August 25

I'd heard about this (I interviewed Herb Carnegie once when I was in high school and he'd spoken about this a bit, and Willie O'Ree makes a point of bringing this stuff up when he can), but I didn't realize how much of a going concern it really was. Hater, in answer to your question, I think it's as much socio-economic as anything. Growing up in North Toronto, the league makeup wasn't lily-white. Pretty much every kid at least tried hockey, and the leagues reflected what I always saw as the actual ethnic breakdown of the area. But I was a kid at the time, so I could be totally wrong. But the vast majority of Canada is way whiter than Toronto, and that might have your answer. There are pockets of non-Anglo culture outside the cities (the Maritimes is a big one, though there are others), but if you're drawing your talent (as the NHL mostly did, in a relatively narrow way, up until about 20 years ago) from the established channels in the Canadian heartland, you're going to get a lot of white dudes, and very few Tony McKegneys & Jarome Iginlas. This seems to have changed, probably and hopefully forever, and I hope and expect the NHL will only do a better job of reflecting the growing diversity of the people who pay to see the games. It's happening. Thanks for the links, Amateur.

posted by chicobangs at 12:27 PM on August 25

This is completely new to me, and I can't wait to read more about it. I wish he hadn't mentioned the midget goaltender, though. Don't get me wrong, I love midgets and all, but for some reason mentioning midget goaltenders automatically lessens the import of an article.

posted by Samsonov14 at 01:00 PM on August 25

Cats and dudes? Cool, mo fo.

posted by joromu at 01:17 PM on August 25

>Just curious anyone know the first black NHL player? Willie O'Ree, Boston Bruins, 1950s. (Someone mentioned him, but I want to make sure you've got your answer.)

posted by Philfromhavelock at 01:35 PM on August 25

Is this imprtant just because they were black and were forgotten, or because they were black, played really good hockey, and were forgotten?

posted by irunfromclones at 02:34 PM on August 25

A little from column A, a little from column B?

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:43 PM on August 25

Thanks for the answer Phil.

posted by HATER 187 at 02:48 PM on August 25

Thrilled these men are getting some long overdue recognition. Excellent FPP Amateur, Thanks.

posted by skydivedad at 09:43 PM on August 25

That's what I thought Weedy. No matter which way you slice it, it's still a part of the history of the game, and should be told.

posted by irunfromclones at 03:41 PM on August 28

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