Nova Scotia

All-Black hockey game will celebrate the past and inspire the future: task force chair

A piece of Nova Scotia's hockey history will be celebrated in Dartmouth this weekend as two all-Black hockey teams hit the ice to commemorate a famous game in the 1920s between the Truro Victorias and the Africville Seasides of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes.

Saturday's game will commemorate a historical matchup between the Truro Victorias and the Africville Seasides

Dean Smith , the chair of Hockey Nova Scotia’s diversity and inclusion task force, speaks with CBC's Tom Murphy on Fri., March 11, 2022 about an upcoming game that will commemorate a clash in the 1920s between The Truro Victorias and Africville Seasides of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes. (CBC)

A piece of Nova Scotia's hockey history will be celebrated in Dartmouth, N.S., this weekend as two all-Black hockey teams hit the ice.

The two sides will meet Saturday night to commemorate a 1920s game between the Truro Victorias and the Africville Seasides of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes.

Speaking with the CBC's Tom Murphy on Friday, Dean Smith, the chair of Hockey Nova Scotia's diversity and inclusion task force said the original game was a "fierce battle."

"Many people are looking forward to seeing this rematch," he said. "I think it's important not to neglect our history or to forget our history." 

The teams in Saturday's game will be sporting sweaters with the logo of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes. (Submitted by Dean Smith)

Smith said the Colored Hockey League had a big impact on the game.

"The league contributed to many of the innovations you see in hockey today. They're just not recognized for it," he said. "So it's important to remember that history and show it on the ice." 

Inspiring the future

The game isn't just about celebrating the past, Smith said. It's also about inspiring future athletes.

"Many kids of colour don't see themselves in the game of hockey," said Smith, whose task force has studied racism in the game. "I think this is an opportunity for young people to see those who look like them on the ice excelling at this sport."

Smith said when he was growing up, incidents of racism turned him away from the game and he hopes that this event will help to show that hockey is for everyone.

"If it's really a Canadian game, if it's Canada's winter pastime, then every kid, regardless of race, regardless of socio-economic background should have an opportunity to play," Smith said.

The event will also feature a Black Youth Ice Hockey (BYIH) demonstration, which Smith said is evidence that his task force is helping to get more kids of colour involved in the sport. Smith called attention to the Indigenous Girls Hockey Program as another example.

The two teams will take the ice on Saturday night at the RBC Centre in Dartmouth. The puck drops at 6:30 p.m. AT with the BYIH demonstration kicking off after the second period.

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