Three from diverse 2015 NHL Draft vie for Team USA roster spots for World Juniors

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Twenty-seven players, 23 spots.

That’s the math problem that Team USA will try to solve as it whittles its roster for the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship,to be held in Toronto and Montreal Dec. 26, 2016 to Jan. 5, 2017.

USA Hockey announced Monday that 27 players have made the preliminary roster for the tourney and will attend a training camp Dec. 16-20 at HarborCenter in Buffalo, N.Y. The final 23-man roster will be announced on Dec. 24.

Three players of color, all members of National Hockey League Draft class of 2015, are vying for jobs on the U.S. squad. They are:

Portland Winterhawks' Caleb Jones

Portland Winterhawks’ Caleb Jones

Caleb Jones, defense, Portland Winterhawks, Western Hockey League.  Jones is the younger brother of Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones, who starred in Portland before the Nashville Predators selected him with the fourth overall pick of the 2013 NHL Draft. Jones joined the NHL after competing in the World Juniors.

Now Caleb Jones is making a name for himself in Portland. He’s fifth on the Winterhawks in scoring with 3 goals and 22 assists in 28 games. His 25 points is tops among the team’s defensemen. He’s tied for second in assists among WHL defensemen.

The Edmonton Oilers chose Jones in the fourth round of the 2015 draft and signed him to an entry-level NHL contract in April.

Portland Winterhawks defenseman Caleb Jones is fifth on his team in scoring (Photo/Dayna Fjord/Portland Winterhawks).

Portland Winterhawks defenseman Caleb Jones is fifth on his team in scoring (Photo/Dayna Fjord/Portland Winterhawks).

“Caleb has had a chance in the past to represent USA at several international events but I know the opportunity to play in the World Junior tournament on the biggest stage is something he’s always looked forward to,”said Mike Johnston, the Winterhawks head coach and general manager. “I am confident he will impress at the camp.”

Jordan Greenway, forward, Boston University, Hockey East. Greenway, a

Jordan Greenway, Boston University

Jordan Greenway, Boston University

6-foot-5, 230-pound sophomore is second on the Terriers in scoring with 6 goals and 7 assists in 13 games. He’s tallied 3 game-winning goals so far this season.

The Minnesota Wild drafted Greenway in the second round with the 50th overall pick of the 2015. His younger brother, defenseman J.D. Greenway, plays for the University of Wisconsin. The Toronto Maple Leafs chose him in the third round with the 72nd overall pick of the 2016 draft.

Boston University sophomore Jordan Greenway is second on the Terriers in scoring (Photo/Richard T. Gagnon)

Boston University sophomore Jordan Greenway is second on the Terriers in scoring (Photo/Richard T. Gagnon)

Providence College's Erik Foley

Providence College’s Erik Foley

Erik Foley, forward, Providence College,  Hockey East. Foley leads The Friars in scoring with 6 goals and 8 assists in 14 games. He also leads the team with 3 power play goals and 2 game-winning goals. The Winnipeg Jets plucked Foley in the third round with the 78th overall in the 2015 draft.

If Foley makes the USA roster, he’ll have company from Rhode Island. Friars Assistant Coach Kris Mayotte was named to the U.S. National Junior Team in June.

 

 

Providence College forward Erik Foley outskates Ohio State University player for the puck.

Providence College forward Erik Foley outskates Ohio State University player for the puck.

And Foley also may end up playing against a fellow Friar in Toronto and Montreal as teammate Kasper Björkqvist was named to Finland’s preliminary roster for the World Juniors on Monday.

 

 

Eight is great for ‘Krash’ Green, just as it was for her NHL pioneer grandad

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When Ryerson University hockey forward Kryshanda Green had to choose what number to wear on her jersey this season, she quickly picked No.8 in honor of a certain Washington Capitals player.

While high-scoring  Alex Ovechkin is currently Washington’s Great Eight, Green’s choice pays homage to a different No. 8 who she thinks is pretty great: her grandfather, Bill Riley.

Ryerson University's Kryshanda Green (Photo/Alex D'Addese).

Ryerson University’s Kryshanda Green (Photo/Alex D’Addese).

Riley, who the number for the Capitals from 1976 to 1979, was the National Hockey League’s third black player. He followed in the skates of teammate Mike Marson and Willie O’Ree, who became the league’s first black player when he joined the Boston Bruins in 1958.

“My grandfather is like a a huge influence on me, he’s very inspiring,” Green told me recently. “I know he dealt with a lot of adversity. His situation is something that I can be proud of for the rest of my life.”

Green took Riley’s number as a personal reminder of the obstacles that he had to overcome and the perseverance he displayed in not letting anyone  – including some racist fans and fellow players – or anything prevent him from achieving his goals.

“It was more when I was in the minor leagues – I went through a lot in the minors,” Riley, who grew up in Nova Scotia, told me recently. “I got called names down in the U.S., I didn’t even know what they meant. I had to ask another black guy. They used to call me ‘chitlin.‘ I didn’t know what a chitlin was. We don’t have chitlins up in Canada, we don’t eat chitlins in Canada.”

Riley appeared in 139 NHL games over five seasons with the Capitals and Winnipeg Jets, notching 31 goals and 30 assists.

Bill Riley, the NHL's third black player, donned the Number 8 for the Washington Capitals long before Alex Ovechkin made it famous.(Photos/Washington Capitals).

Bill Riley, the NHL’s third black player, donned the No. 8 for the Washington Capitals long before Alex Ovechkin made it famous.(Photos/Washington Capitals).

Green says she’s taking lessons from Riley’s perseverance and using it to revive a promising hockey career that hit a big red stop sign three seasons ago.

Green began her Canadian collegiate hockey career at London, Ontario’s Western University in 2012-13. She tallied 9 goals and 13 assists for the Mustangs and earned Ontario University Athletics’ All-Rookie Team honors that season.

But success on ice didn’t translate to success in the classroom. Hitting the books wasn’t her top priority.

“I wasn’t ready academically,” she said. “I wasn’t willing to do the work. I wasn’t willing to study or put dedication toward academics. I was certainly willing to play hockey. I did that day in and day out, anytime I could. I loved it. But academically, I hadn’t matured in the same way, and that was my downfall.”

Kryshanda Green leads Ryerson University's women's hockey team in scoring in the 2016-17 season (Photo by Alex D'Addese/ Ryerson Rams Athletics)

Kryshanda Green leads Ryerson University’s women’s hockey team in scoring in the 2016-17 season (Photo by Alex D’Addese/ Ryerson Rams Athletics)

Frustrated, Green left Western and quit hockey altogether – moves that broke her grandfather’s heart.

“It really disappointed me because I knew how good she was,” said Riley, 66. “She has a gear that a lot of players will never get, no matter how hard they work. She is so explosive to the outside, she’s unbelievable. And she shoots the puck a ton – she fires bullets for a girl that small. She was too darn good not to play.”

“To be honest, I think my grandfather was the most upset,” Green recalled. “He was like ‘What are you doing? How can you stop playing? You’ve got to get through this.'”

But Green said was stubbornly determined not to return to the rink. She filled the hockey void by getting in touch with her artistic side.

She collaborated with Toronto-area hip-hop artists and even released her own EP and video as the artist known as Krash.

But even as she busted rhymes, hockey remained on her mind.

“It was something that I knew I wasn’t done with, that I finished too early,” Green told me. “It was something that I was tired of keeping me up at night.”

While performing music was fun, working regular jobs in Toronto area warehouses and for a film services company from 2013 to 2015 were hardly inspiring, Green confessed.

Fortunately, a life-line came in the form of a phone call from Lisa Haley, Ryerson’s women’s hockey head coach and former assistant coach on the Canadian women’s national team that won gold at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Haley wanted to know if Green was interested in playing hockey again. Krash dropped the mic and grabbed a stick.

“I thought I wasn’t going to get another chance to finish what I started after all these years, so I took it because I thought that getting an education was the most valuable thing for me to get right now,” Green said.

Green was red-shirted at Ryerson last season, meaning she didn’t appear in single game for the Rams. That gave her time to focus on academics, which resulted in a 3.5 grade-point average last year, she said.

“This year, I’m currently a 3.0. After exams, hopefully, it will be higher,” Green, a politics and governance major, told me. “It’s the most important part.”

Her on-ice stats are pretty good, too. The 5-foot-4 forward from Brampton, Ontario, leads the Rams in scoring with 8 goals and 7 assists for 15 points in 12 games. She’s fourth in the OUA in points; fourth in goals; and eighth in assists.

She’s tenth in goals and thirteenth in points in Canadian Interuniversity Sport, the country’s version of the NCAA.

“It’s been amazing,” Green said of her success after the long hockey layoff. “I have a greater appreciation for the game that I never thought I’d have. It feels like home again…It’s honestly such a privilege for me to get on the ice. For me, just being able to step on the ice and play a game is huge.”

Kryshanda Green is thrilled to be playing hockey again after a lengthy layoff (Photo by Alex D'Addese/ Ryerson Rams Athletics)

Kryshanda Green is thrilled to be playing hockey again after a lengthy layoff (Photo by Alex D’Addese/ Ryerson Rams Athletics)

Green’s work ethic and dedication earned her an assistant captain’s “A” on her jersey this season, a symbol that she’s a team leader.

“She is highly skilled, she’s got blazing speed on the ice, but the bigger impact of ‘Krash’s’ legacy on our program has been her leadership,” Haley said. “She is the picture of accountability, integrity and perseverance. These are key qualities that every successful team embodies and she brought these to the rink every single day last year, knowing she wouldn’t even play a game the entire season.”

Just what proud grandpa Bill Riley likes to hear.

“She’s blowing the doors off her grades,” he said of his granddaughter. “And she’s blowing the doors off the hockey.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snider Hockey tops Ice Hockey in Harlem in Fundraising contest – everybody wins

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And the final score is Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation $124,637.67, Ice Hockey in Harlem $83,370.93.

The kids from Snider Hockey topped their New York youth hockey rivals in a friendly fundraising competition that began with the drop of the puck at the Philadelphia Flyers-New York Rangers game on Nov. 25 and ended around midnight on Nov. 29.

Victory is ours!! The Ed Snider youth Hockey Foundation outraised New York's Ice Hockey in Harlem in a friendly fundraising competition over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Victory is ours!! The Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation out-raised New York’s Ice Hockey in Harlem in a friendly fundraising competition over the Thanksgiving holiday.

The battle for bragging rights was part of #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities, and organizations to encourage philanthropy and celebrate generosity worldwide.

During the competition, donors and supporters of the two minority-oriented youth hockey organizations visited the websites of Snider Hockey and Ice Hockey in Harlem to make contributions, or gave via mail or in person.

Ice Hockey in Harlem came up a little short in its fundraising tilt against Philly's Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation. But there's always next year.

Ice Hockey in Harlem came up a little short in its fundraising tilt against Philly’s Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation. But there’s always next year.

With their victory, the Philly kids were crowned #FaceOffChamps. As part of the competition, the Harlem skaters – who normally wear Rangers colors – must don Flyers orange and black T-shirts and proclaim their love for their dreaded turnpike rivals on Ice Hockey in Harlem social media sites.

Stay tuned.

 

From crying goalie to bench boss, meet Detroit’s Jason McCrimmon

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Jason McCrimmon wasn’t feeling it.

His mother enrolled him in a Detroit ice hockey program, but the-then three-year-old McCrimmon was hardly enthused about his visits to chilly Jack Adams Arena .

“My brothers played – I hated it,” McCrimmon told me recently. “I used to cry the whole time. It was cold, I started out as a goalie. I’m standing in one spot, I’m cold, my feet hurt.”

McCrimmon eventually got out of the net to play forward and defense. He developed into a player, and a pretty good one, too. Still, he quit the sport at 16, opting to do what teenagers like to do.

But an epiphany brought him back to frozen pond.

Motor City Hawks Head Coach/Co-Owner Jason McCrimmon working the bench during a USPHL's game.

Motor City Hawks Head Coach/Co-Owner Jason McCrimmon working the bench during a USPHL’s game.

“My father passed away when I was 18. He was the guy that if I scored two goals ‘Why didn’t you have three?’” he said. “I used to hate for him to come to the games. I had a dream when I was 20 years old. He told me to get back into the game.”

Today, the kid who used to cry in goal now barks orders from behind the bench as head coach and part owner of the Motor City Hawks of the U.S. Premier Hockey League, a Tier III junior league where players showcase their talents for college or major junior hockey programs.

McCrimmon is a double-rarity – one of the few black head coaches and team owners in hockey at any level.

He’s part of a small class that includes David L. Steward, a part owner of the National Hockey League’s St. Louis BluesKhalil Thomas, head coach, general manager, and co-owner of the Oshawa RiverKings of the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League in Canada; and Darren Lowe , who’s in his 22nd season as head coach of the University of Toronto’s men’s hockey team.

McCrimmon is also president and founder of  Detroit Ice Dreams, a non-profit organization that tries to increase minority participation in hockey and figure skating by lowering the main barriers to the sports – access and cost.

Flint Firebirds defenseman Jalen Smereck, Detroit native, works out with Jason McCrimmon during the summer. Smereck thinks McCrimmon is college or major junior coaching material (Photo/Aaron Bell/OHL Images).

Flint Firebirds defenseman Jalen Smereck, Detroit native, works out with Jason McCrimmon during the summer. Smereck thinks McCrimmon is college or major junior coaching material (Photo/Aaron Bell/OHL Images).

After having that dream about his tough-love hockey dad, McCrimmon contacted the coaches of the Belle Tire’s junior hockey program to ask for a tryout and a path back into the game.

That began a hockey journey that included stops at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, the Mississippi RiverKings of the old Central Hockey League, the Flint Generals of the defunct International Hockey League, and  Hela-Kieko in Finland, where McCrimmon was a high-scoring defenseman and team captain.

Detroit is known for building cars. But the Motor City is also gaining a reputation for building black successful hockey players.

McCrimmon has played with, against, or coached the likes of defenseman Cameron Burt, a former Rochester Institute of Technology star who’s currently skating for Starbulls Rosenheim in Germany and Tarasai Karega, a former Ms. Michigan hockey  award winner who went onto become one of the first black women to win an NCAA hockey title while playing for Amherst College.

“She was one of the best players to come out of the Detroit Hockey Association  – period,” McCrimmon said. “She’s very dangerous. When I played at UMass-Boston, we used to play Amherst. We came down for a two-night series against their male team and I saw her play. She was literally tearing apart the league.”

Motor City Hawks Head Coach/Co-Owner Jason McCrimmon (center) with Hawks forward Justin Session (left) and Flint Firebirds defenseman Jalen Smereck (right), an Arizona Coyotes signee.

Motor City Hawks Head Coach/Co-Owner Jason McCrimmon (center) with Hawks forward Justin Session (left) and Flint Firebirds defenseman Jalen Smereck (right), an Arizona Coyotes signee.

During hockey’s off-season, McCrimmon trains Jalen Smereck, a fellow Detroit native who’s a defenseman for the Ontario Hockey League’s  Flint Firebirds. Smereck recently signed a three-year entry level deal with the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes.

“Having grown up in Detroit, he’s pretty hard on us, making sure we’re always on top of our business and also making sure we as teenagers and young adults come back to help the young kids, teach them how we were taught,” Smereck told me recently. “I definitely think he’d be a good coach at a higher level, not only because he played at a pretty high level, but the way that he coaches, his love for the game, his care for the game. I think he can take players a long way.”

But McCrimmon isn’t thinking about going anywhere right now. There’s too much to do in Motown.

“I’ve had opportunities in the last two years, probably a total of seven different colleges,” he said. “I love being here in Detroit , I’m happy what I’m doing. I want to expand the Motor City Hawks as well as expand our non-profit Ice Dreams. Whatever comes from there, if I get something big that I can turn down, we’ll cross that bridge when it happens.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snider Hockey and Ice Hockey in Harlem face off in a grudge match for good causes

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It’s that time of year again.

Time for turkey and stuffing. It’s also time for the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers to beat the stuffing out of each other in a National Hockey League Metropolitan Division matinee the day after Thanksgiving at Philly’s Wells Fargo Center.

The Philadelphia-New York rivalry won’t be limited to the ice that Friday. Philly’s Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation and New York’s Ice Hockey in Harlem will use the game to face off in a grudge match of their own- for good causes.

Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation players hope to win the #GiveTuesday challenge against Ice Hockey in Harlem - and avoid having to wear New York Rangers gear.

Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation players hope to win the #GiveTuesday challenge against Ice Hockey in Harlem – and avoid having to wear New York Rangers gear.

The two mostly-minority youth hockey organizations will engage in a head-to-head  fund-raising battle when the Flyers-Rangers puck drops at 1 p.m. EST on the 25th.

The competition is in recognition of #GiveTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities, and organizations to encourage philanthropy and celebrate generosity worldwide.

Folks interested in participating in the challenge can do so by visiting the respective websites of Snider Hockey – www.sniderhockey.org – and Ice Hockey in Harlem  – www.icehockeyinharlem.org – to make contributions online. Donations can also be done by mail or in person.

For Snider Hockey and Ice Hockey in Harlem – both nonprofits – it’s about helping to keep two successful youth hockey programs running.

For the kids, the challenge is about bragging rights.The organization that raises the most money will be crowned #FaceOffChamps.

Skaters from Ice Hockey in Harlem look to defeat Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation players in the #GiveTuesday challenge.

Skaters from Ice Hockey in Harlem look to defeat Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation players in the #GiveTuesday challenge.

If Snider Hockey wins, a group of players from Ice Hockey in Harlem must wear Flyers T-shirts while sharing ‘Ice Hockey in Harlem LOVES the Philadelphia Flyers’ on IHIH’s social media pages.

Should Ice Hockey in Harlem win, Snider Hockey students must share their love for the Rangers on Snider Hockey’s social media pages while sporting Rangers gear.

“The real winners of this friendly competition will be the boys and girls of both programs who, through hockey, are learning life lessons and how to succeed in the game of life,” said Snider Hockey President Scott Tharp.

Ice Hockey in Harlem Executive Director John Sanful agreed.

“Snider Hockey and Ice Hockey in Harlem are committed to improving the social and academic well-being of children through the sport of ice hockey,” Sanful said. “This initiative will positively impact many deserving boys and girls.”

The two programs are part of “Hockey is for Everyone,” an NHL initiative that provides support and unique programming to some 40 nonprofit youth hockey organizations across North America.

It offers children of all backgrounds the opportunity and access to learn to play hockey at little or no cost.

People wishing to make donations or pledges to Ice Hockey in Harlem for the #GiveTuesday challenge can do so online or send donations to the attention of  Ice Hockey in Harlem Executive Director John Sanful, 127 West 127th Street, Suite 415, New York, New York, 10027.

Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation supporters can make donations or pledges online, a dated check by mail, or by contacting Snider Hockey Development Staff at 215-952-4125. Flyers game attendees can also drop off donations at the Snider Hockey kiosk outside of section 108 during the hours of the competition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah hits 100 – another Nurse family sports milestone

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U of Wisconsin and Team Canada forward Sarah Nurse (Photo/Hockey Canada).

U of Wisconsin and Team Canada forward Sarah Nurse (Photo/Hockey Canada).

Congratulations to University of Wisconsin women’s hockey forward Sarah Nurse for reaching the 100-point mark in her collegiate career.

She achieved the milestone on a third-period goal that helped cement the Badgers’ 6-0 win over Bemidji State University in Madison, Wis., Sunday. It was Nurse’s second goal of the game and her 11th of the 2016-17 season.

“It’s a pretty cool accomplishment, it was actually really cool that (Wisconsin senior forward Sydney McKibbon) made that pass out to me, I think that brought it all back to where it kind of all started, so I think that was really cool,” Nurse said after the game.”

Nurse, the Badgers’ leading scorer this season,  is the 22nd player in the university’s history to tally 100 points. While getting into the history books is nice, Nurse said there’s one achievement that matters more to her: winning an NCAA hockey championship.

“This is my last year, so I kind of wanted to come in and have a big impact on this team,” she said. “I want to ultimately win the big title at the end of the year. I came into this season with a lot of confidence.”

Nurse is the cousin of Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse and Kia Nurse, a  star guard for the 2015 and 2016 NCAA champion University of Connecticut women’s basketball team and a member of Canada’s women’s hoops squad that competed at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

She’s also the niece of former National Football League quarterback Donovan McNabb.

Nurse was a co-captain for Canada’s U-22 squad that played a mini-series against the United States in August. The Hamilton, Ont., native led Wisconsin’s women’s team in scoring last season with 25 goals and 13 assists in 36 games.

Blue Jackets’ Tortorella calls Blues’ Reaves ‘that animal,’ a slur or just words?

Once again, Columbus Blue Jackets Head Coach John Tortorella’s mouth has served as a diving board that’s plunged him into the deep waters of race.

St. Louis Blues forward Ryan Reaves.

St. Louis Blues forward Ryan Reaves.

The fiery coach was displeased with his team’s effort in a 2-1 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues Saturday night.

He called out his players for their performance but he also had a curious choice of words in describing Blues tough guy forward Ryan Reaves, who fought Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno in the second period.

“I watched Nick Foligno fight that animal,” Tortorella told reporters after the game.

 

Tortorella may know hockey but he apparently doesn’t know that certain words when aimed toward certain people can have racial connotations.

Calling a black player like Reaves “that animal” didn’t sit well with several hockey fans, judging by the online reaction to Tortorella’s words.

 

It’s hard to determine what Tortorella’s intent was in calling Reaves an animal. Apparently no one at the post-game press conference asked the coach to elaborate on his comment.

Several words can be used to describe Reaves – enforcer, fighter, tough guy, pugilist, or the old-school hockey phrase “goon,” if you must.  So the use of “animal” is a bit of a head-scratcher.

Tortorella knows that he needs to choose his words carefully. Just a few days ago, he employed verbal restraint before getting too salty before the cameras.

The use of the word “animal” conjures up some bad hockey memories for some. Val James, the NHL’s first U.S.-born black player, was often called an animal, a monkey, a gorilla, or some other primate during a professional career that spanned the 1970s and 80s.

James, who was one of the game’s most-feared fighters,  once told me of the time that he was sitting in the penalty box during a minor league game when two people dangled a fishing line down to him with a toy monkey attached to it.

The taunt aimed at James was so appalling that the game’s referee – current U.S. Congressman Pat Meehan of Pennsylvania – threatened to end the game and call it a forfeit against the home team if the two tormentors weren’t ejected from the arena.

Philadelphia Flyers star forward Wayne Simmonds got the less-than-human treatment in 2011 when a so-called fan threw a banana toward him during a pre-season game in London, Ont. NHL broadcaster Kevin Weekes had a banana tossed at him in Montreal in 2002 when he played goal for the Carolina Hurricanes.

Tortorella stirred controversy at the World Cup of Hockey in September when he said he would bench any of his Team USA players if they followed San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest and not stand for the national anthem.

Kaepernick is protesting what he feels is the oppressive treatment of blacks in the United States.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown, who wasn’t on the U.S. World Cup of Hockey squad, criticized Tortorella’s criticism in a tweet that said “Wouldn’t benching a black man for taking a stance only further prove Kap’s point of oppression?”

Brown told The Tampa Bay Times that Tortorella “sees the situation through his reality and I see it through mine, as a black athlete in the NHL.”

 

What’s it like to be young, gifted and white in the NBA? ‘The Undefeated’ explores

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We at the Color of Hockey are dedicated to chronicling what it’s like for minority players in a majority-white sport.

But what about the flip side? What’s it like to be a white athlete in a sport dominated by minority players?

 

ESPN’s The Undefeated, a platform dedicated to the intersection of race and sports, explores the question in a wonderful read by Marc J. Spears on the paucity of American-born white players in the National Basketball Association.

White American NBA players appear to be going the way of the water buffalo. The bulk of the league’s Caucasian talent hail from European countries – think Dirk Nowitzki or Dario Saric.

There used to be lots of white American NBA stars – Larry Bird, “Pistol” Pete Maravich, John Havlicek, Bill Walton, Jerry West, “Thunder” Dan Majerle, Kevin McHale. Today, not so much.

Anyway, take the time and give The Undefeated article a read. Then come back to hockey.

 

Here’s a look at NHL diversity, the next generation

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We’ve taken a look at diversity in the National Hockey League at the start of the 2016-17 season. Now let’s take a peek at the future.

A growing number of players color have been drafted by NHL teams in recent years. Several of them are currently playing for the minor league affiliates of the NHL teams that drafted them or skating for the major junior teams they were chosen from.

Some players drafted between 2012 and 2016, like defensemen Seth Jones and Darnell Nurse, have made to the NHL.

A few – like goaltender Malcolm Subban, forwards  Jujhar Khaira and Justin Bailey, and defenseman Oliver Kylington – have logged a few NHL games.

And others, like forward Joshua Ho-Sang, have the potential to be called up to the parent club this season. So here’s a look at NHL diversity, the next generation.

 

Oliver Kylington, D, Calgary Flames 2015 2nd-round pick.

Oliver Kylington, D, Calgary Flames 2015 2nd-round pick.

Jujhar Khaira, F, Edmonton Oilers, 3rd-round, 2012.

Jujhar Khaira, F, Edmonton Oilers, 3rd-round, 2012.

Gemel Smith, F, Dallas Stars, 4th-round, 2012.

Gemel Smith, F, Dallas Stars, 4th-round, 2012.

Malcolm Subban, G, Boston Bruins, 1st-round, 2012.

Malcolm Subban, G, Boston Bruins, 1st-round, 2012.

Tyrell Goulbourne, F, Philadelphia Flyers, 3rd-round, 2013.

Tyrell Goulbourne, F, Philadelphia Flyers, 3rd-round, 2013.

Jonathan Ang, F, Florida Panthers, 4th-round, 2016.

Jonathan Ang, F, Florida Panthers, 4th-round, 2016.

Givani Smith, F, Detroit Red Wings, 2nd-round, 2016.

Givani Smith, F, Detroit Red Wings, 2nd-round, 2016.

Evan Rodrigues, F, Buffalo Sabres, free agent signee 2015-16.

Evan Rodrigues, F, Buffalo Sabres, free agent signee 2015-16.

Cliff Pu, F, Buffalo Sabres, 3rd-round, 2016.

Cliff Pu, F, Buffalo Sabres, 3rd-round, 2016.

Nicholas Baptiste, F, Buffalo Sabres, 3rd-round, 2013.

Nicholas Baptiste, F, Buffalo Sabres, 3rd-round, 2013.

Justin Bailey, F, Buffalo Sabres, 2nd-roound, 2013.

Justin Bailey, F, Buffalo Sabres, 2nd-roound, 2013.

Jonathan-Ismael Diaby, D, Nashville Predators, 3rd-round, 2013.

Jonathan-Ismael Diaby, D, Nashville Predators, 3rd-round, 2013.

Jordan Subban, D, Vancouver Canucks, 4th-round, 2013.

Jordan Subban, D, Vancouver Canucks, 4th-round, 2013.

Madison Bowey, D, Washington Capitals, 2md-round, 2013.

Madison Bowey, D, Washington Capitals, 2md-round, 2013.

Joshua Ho-Sang, F, New York Islanders, 1st-round, 2014.

Joshua Ho-Sang, F, New York Islanders, 1st-round, 2014.

Brandon Montour, D, Anaheim Ducks, 2nd-round, 2014.

Brandon Montour, D, Anaheim Ducks, 2nd-round, 2014.

Bokondji Imama, F, Tampa Bay Lightning 6th-round, 2015.

Bokondji Imama, F, Tampa Bay Lightning 6th-round, 2015.

Ethan Bear, D, Edmonton Oilers 5th-round, 2015.

Ethan Bear, D, Edmonton Oilers 5th-round, 2015.

Devante Stephens, D, Buffalo Sabres 5th-round, 2015.

Devante Stephens, D, Buffalo Sabres 5th-round, 2015.

Caleb Jones, D, Edmonton Oilers 4th-round pick, 2015.

Caleb Jones, D, Edmonton Oilers 4th-round pick, 2015.

Mathieu Joseph, F, Tampa Bay Lightning 4th-round pick, 2015.

Mathieu Joseph, F, Tampa Bay Lightning 4th-round pick, 2015.

Keegan Kolesar, F, Columbus Blue Jackets 3rd-round pick, 2015.

Keegan Kolesar, F, Columbus Blue Jackets 3rd-round pick, 2015.

How diverse is the NHL? Take a look

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They hail from different places and backgrounds. They’re of different races, ethnic groups, and faiths. But put a stick in their hands and skates on their feet, they’re all the same: hockey players.

It’s fun writing about the history and growing impact of people of color in hockey, but frustrating at the same time. A lot of people still don’t realize how diverse the sport is becoming, how the face of hockey is changing.

Seeing is believing, so here are some of the players of color who were on the rosters of National Hockey League teams when the 2016-17 season opened last week. If you have any questions about the players, take a deeper dive into this blog for some of their stories.

 

 Auston Matthews, F, Toronto Maple Leafs

Auston Matthews, F, Toronto Maple Leafs

Dustin Byfuglien, D, Winnipeg Jets

Dustin Byfuglien, D, Winnipeg Jets

Kyle Okposo, F, Buffalo Sabres

Kyle Okposo, F, Buffalo Sabres

Nazem Kadri, F, Toronto Maple Leafs

Nazem Kadri, F, Toronto Maple Leafs

 J.T. Brown, F, Tampa Bay Lightning

J.T. Brown, F, Tampa Bay Lightning

 Joel Ward, F, San Jose Sharks

Joel Ward, F, San Jose Sharks

Nail Yakupov, F, St. Louis Blues

Nail Yakupov, F, St. Louis Blues

Ryan Reaves, F, St. Louis Blues

Ryan Reaves, F, St. Louis Blues

 Trevor Daley, D, Pittsburgh Penguins

Trevor Daley, D, Pittsburgh Penguins

Wayne Simmonds, F, Philadelphia Flyers

Wayne Simmonds, F, Philadelphia Flyers

 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, F, Philadelphia Flyers

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, F, Philadelphia Flyers

Mika Zibanejad, F, New York Rangers

Mika Zibanejad, F, New York Rangers

Devante Smith-Pelly, F, New Jersey Devils

Devante Smith-Pelly, F, New Jersey Devils

P.K. Subban, D, Nashville Predators

P.K. Subban, D, Nashville Predators

Carey Price, G, Montreal Canadiens

Carey Price, G, Montreal Canadiens

Al Montoya, G, Montreal Canadiens

Al Montoya, G, Montreal Canadiens

Chris Stewart, F, Minnesota Wild

Chris Stewart, F, Minnesota Wild

Matt Dumba, D, Minnesota Wild

Matt Dumba, D, Minnesota Wild

Jordan Nolan, F, Los Angeles Kings

Jordan Nolan, F, Los Angeles Kings

 Alec Martinez, D, Los Angeles Kings

Alec Martinez, D, Los Angeles Kings

Johnny Oduya, D, Dallas Stars

Johnny Oduya, D, Dallas Stars

Darnell Nurse, D, Edmonton Oilers

Darnell Nurse, D, Edmonton Oilers

 Brandon Saad, F, Columbus Blue Jackets

Brandon Saad, F, Columbus Blue Jackets

 Seth Jones, D, Columbus Blue Jackets

Seth Jones, D, Columbus Blue Jackets

 Jordan Tootoo, F, Chicago Blackhawks.

Jordan Tootoo, F, Chicago Blackhawks.

Anthony Duclair, forward, Arizona Coyotes.

Anthony Duclair, forward, Arizona Coyotes.

 Jarome Iginla, F, Colorado Avalanche

Jarome Iginla, F, Colorado Avalanche

Evander Kane, F, Buffalo Sabres.

Evander Kane, F, Buffalo Sabres.