Thanks to Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis for the really nice shout-out that he gave to the Color of Hockey over the weekend on his popular “Ted’s Take” blog.
The love is especially appreciated because a Washington Capitals player was partially responsible for my decision to start the blog. I fiddled around for years with the idea of writing a blog, but couldn’t figure out what to blog about.
Then came Game 7 of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoff series between the Capitals and the Boston Bruins. When Capitals right wing Joel Ward scored the series-clinching goal 2:57 into overtime, it should have been a celebration of sports drama at its best – an underdog team knocking out the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Instead, it showed the sad underside of some people at their worst. Several Bruins fans couldn’t handle the truth that a black man put the puck in the net and vanquished their beloved “B’s” to an early summer vacation.
They responded with racist venom that oozed from their keyboards and into the social media universe. The mean-spirited emails, tweets, and Facebook posts were so bad that it prompted the NHL and Bruins organization to issue statements chastising those so-called fans. Leonsis bashed the authors of the hate-filled missives for their display of keyboard courage.
The episode showed me that, despite a steady influx of people of color in hockey in recent years, a lot of folks still have a lot to learn about the history and growing influence of minorities in this wonderful game.
So Ward’s goal cemented what I wanted to do in a blog: To tell an under-told story, to educate, and, hopefully, entertain people with tales about what people of all stripes are doing in hockey. Hence, the Color of Hockey.
When the blog began, I had no idea how far or where it would go. You can only write so much about minorities in hockey before it gets redundant, I figured. Boy, was I wrong.
From the number of minority players chosen in last summer’s NHL Draft, to Old Spice Guy Isaiah Mustafa’s passion for hockey, to the three Indo-Canadians playing for the Western Hockey League’s Everett Silvertips, to 69-year-old civil rights attorney John Brittain recounting his days as possibly the lone black high school hockey player in New England in the early 1960s, the blog has found different pathways to convey what we’re doing in the game.
I’m learning that there are a ton of stories out there, from pee-wee hockey to the pros.
And the readers have been a blast! I love the tweets from people who follow the blog at @ColorOfHockey – especially those from minority parents who never envisioned being inside frigid ice skating rinks with their kids at ungodly hours but are now all-in as full-fledged, die-hard hockey parents.
So Thanks for the love, Ted, and please keep reading. And thank you, Joel. Please keep scoring – and reading – too.