After the black hockey history movie “Soul on Ice: Past, Present & Future” had its U.S. premiere in Washington, D.C., last month, a lot of you contacted me to ask when will the general public be able to see the film.
Answer: This Wednesday.
First-time filmmaker Damon Kwame Mason’s hockey labor of love will air Wednesday, Feb. 24, in the U.S. on cable’s NHL Network at 8 p.m. EST (folks in other time zones, check your local listings). The network will air an encore presentation on Sunday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. EST.
The film chronicles the joy and the pain experienced by black players, from members of the ground-breaking Colored Hockey League in the Canadian Maritimes from 1895 to 1925 to star-studded roster of players currently skating for National Hockey League teams.
Some familiar faces – past and present – share their hockey stories: Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds, Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Trevor Daley, San Jose Sharks forward Joel Ward, Edmonton Oilers goaltending great Grant Fuhr, Buffalo Sabres/Quebec Nordiques/New York Rangers sniper Tony McKegney, and former Sabres/Toronto Maple Leafs tough guy Val James, the NHL’s first black player born in the United States.
The NHL is rolling out the red carpet for the movie’s television premiere. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, Willie O’Ree, the league’s first black player, Oilers rookie defenseman Darnell Nurse, and Mason are scheduled to join NHL Network’s “NHL Live Powered By Constellation” this week to discuss the movie. Mason appeared Tuesday on “The Tom Joyner Morning Show.”
Mason devoted nearly four years and spent about $200,000 of mostly his own money to make the film. It won a People’s Choice Award at the Edmonton International Film Festival in October.
The film was shown at screenings in Canada before Bettman and Leonsis brought it across the border and hosted the private screening in Washington last month. The event also featured a Q&A session with O’Ree, Mason, and ex-NHLers-turned TV hockey analysts Kevin Weekes and Anson Carter.
Morgan State University, a black college in Baltimore, Md., hosted the film’s second U.S. screening last week.