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We love this game — black Canadians and hockey

 

P.K. Subban, #76 of the Nashville Predators, skates against the Montreal Canadiens in 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Canadians and hockey go together like beaches and swimming or playgrounds and swings or computers and keyboards or… you get the point, right? Like most Canadians, black people living in this country also grew up taking slap shots and making saves on streets, in driveways or arenas from the Maritimes to B.C. and a few places in between! Let’s take a look at black Canadians in hockey from the past to the present.

The Coloured Hockey League — where it all began

archive photo of a team from the Coloured Hockey League

A team from the Coloured Hockey League, 1910.

The Coloured Hockey League of the Maritimes started in 1894 — 22 years before the NHL— and lasted for more than 30 years. It was headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and featured teams such as the Dartmouth Jubilees, Africville Seasides, Halifax Eurekas and the Africville Brown Bombers. The league made contributions to modern hockey such as the slap-shot and the rule allowing goalies going down on the ice to stop the puck.

Players who made history

Herb Carnegie

Herb Carnegie: the best player you never saw, born in Toronto, was considered one of the best players of his time but because of racism he never made it to the NHL, he received the order of Canada in 2003

Willie O'Ree

Willie O'Ree, breaking down barriers, born in 1935, the first black player to serve in the NHL, Boston declared January 18 to be Willie O'Ree day

Anson Carter

Anson Carter: the show heard around the world, born in 1974 in Toronto, scored the overtime game winning goal at the 2003 World Hockey Championships that gave Canada the gold medal, now runs a music label for hip hop bands

Grant Fuhr

Grant Fuhr: the champ, born in Alberta, led the Edmonton Oilers to five Stanley Cup championships between 1984 and 1990

P. K. Subban

PK Subban: doin' it with swag, born in 1989 and currently one of the NHL's top defensemen who won the Norris Trophy and named to First All Star Team in 2012

Angela James

Angela James: first superstar woman of hockey. She was the first woman elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame and the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame for winning countless scoring titles, championships, and gold medals at the provincial, national and international level.