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Hockey’s Rise in Diversity

The first black NHL player was Willie O’reed back in 1958 that helped break the color barrier for the National Hockey League.  There wasn’t another black NHL player that stepped onto the ice in the NHL until some 15 years later when Washington Capitals players Bill Riley and Mike Marston suited up.  Tony McKegney became the first real liner for black hockey players in the NHL, scoring 40 goals in 1987-88 with the St. Louis Blues.  Grant Fuhr was the first black hall of famer; a net minder that became the first black player to have his name engraved on Lord Stanley’s Cup.  In the present day there are many more black hockey players in the league than before. It’s great for the sport and incredible to see how fast the growth of black hockey players is happening.

There  have been roughly 70 black players who played at least one NHL game and as of today there are 20 black players currently on active NHL rosters.  Assuming all 30 teams had even rosters of 21 players that would leave 630 players in the league.  So in today’s NHL that would leave slightly over 3% of all players are black, a major increase from years before.

5 well known Black Forwards and their career stats:

Player GP G A Pts +/- PIM
Jarome IginlaRW(96-pres) 1150 501 541 1042 59 794
Anson CarterRW(96-2007) 674 202 219 421 -12 229
Mike GrierRW(96-2011) 1060 162 221 383 -9 510
Tony McKegneyForward(1978-91) 912 320 319 639 3 517
Georges LaraqueRW(97-2010) 695 53 100 153 1 1126


5 well known Black Defensemen and their career stats:

Player GP G A Pts +/- PIM
Dustin ByfuglienRW/D(2005-pres) 376 81 105 186 -25 407
Francis Bouillon(1999-pres) 640 25 103 128 -25 465
Sean Brown(96-2006) 436 14 43 57 -9 907
Johnny Oduya(2006-pres) 423 22 84 106 34 211
P.K Subban(2009-pres) 120 17 40 57 -8 175


3 well known Black Goaltenders and their career stats:

Player GP W L T/OT GAA Save % SO
Grant Fuhr(1981-2000) 868 403 295 114 3.38 .887 25
Ray Emery(2002-pres) 188 103 56 17 2.68 .908 11
Kevin Weekes(97-2009) 348 105 163 39 2.88 .903 19


Black players are increasing in numbers today in the league and the more that make it to the NHL level, the greater the impact we can see they will have on the ice in any role, whether its a goal scorer, defenseman, goaltender, or enforcer.  As hockey continues to grow we will see many more players of all sorts of ethnicity and race from all over the world join the NHL. Hockey is most definitely for everyone!

Kris Vogt

Kris Vogt

Kristopher Vogt is a senior meteorology major at UMASS Lowell. Kris watches hockey whenever he can and frequently loses in game 7′s in EA’s NHL12. He roots for the Bruins and has a secret affection for the San Jose Sharks. Go Bruins, Go Sharks
Kris Vogt

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