Tuesday, June 13, 2006


When More Than The Puck Was Black

Well, as the chiefly Caucasian NHL and the basically black NBA are both in each season's final days, this is a good time to take a peek at a forgotten period in professional North American sports -- the hockey version of the Negro Leagues (in more ways than one):

Comprised of the sons and grandsons of runaway American slaves, the league helped pioneer the sport of ice hockey changing this winter game from the primitive "gentleman's past-time" of the nineteenth century to the modern fast moving game of today. In an era when many believed blacks could not endure cold, possessed ankles too weak to effectively skate, and lacked the intelligence for organized sport, these men defied the defined myths.
A documentary on The Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes is in production and should see the light of day sometime next year.

I'm not even particularly a hockey fan -- and my knowledge of black players in the NHL doesn't extend much beyond
Grant Fuhr and Anson Carter (who is not, surprisingly, boy band veteran Nick Carter's young brother). But at a recent reception following the screening of a completely unrelated documentary, I heard about the existence of this league for the first time.

My interest was piqued.

Yours may be as well.

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