PYEONGCHANG – Anson Carter’s response was “Ha, ha, that’s funny” when he first saw Chance the Rapper play a clueless New York Knicks basketball sideline reporter trying to analyze a NewYork Rangers hockey game in an NBC “Saturday Night Live” skit.
But his reaction quickly shifted to “Hey, now, wait a minute” upon further review.
“I loved it, I thought it was funny, you need to laugh at yourself,” Carter, a retired National Hockey League forward/turned hockey analyst for NBC Sports Network and host of “The MSG Hockey Show.” “But at the same time, there are enough black people out there who know the game of hockey that you’re like ‘Can we actually move past that point?”
“I liked it because it brought attention to the sport, but you can’t keep using those same old stereotypes because there are actually knowledgeable black fans out there that you’re saying ‘You guys have no clue on what’s going on,’ he added. “I think that was the easy way out making fun of hockey, of all sports. There’s a lot more black fans out there than we get credit for. From that standpoint, I didn’t like it, but you’ve got to laugh at yourself.”
Carter is busy these days preparing to impart hockey knowledge on television viewers as part of the NBC team that will cover the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, Feb. 9-25. He’ll serve as an in-studio host from NBC Sports Group’s International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Connecticut.
He says he’s mindful that the Winter Games might be the first time that a casual viewer might see a black person talking about ice hockey on TV.
Winter Olympics features diversity in broadcast booth too #WinterOlympics @williamgdouglas: https://t.co/4IeQ5qfJww
— David Lightman (@LightmanDavid) February 6, 2018
“Sometimes you’re changing the channel, and you might not watch the whole game, but you might want to see what’s happening between periods, and you see a black face on TV talking about the game, giving some insightful analysis on what’s going on,” Carter said.
“I always keep in mind, too, that I have to make sure that I’m prepared at all times,” he added. “I want to make sure I’m bringing my ‘A’ game to the table because it is all about diversity. You can’t talk about being diverse on the ice, but then off the ice you don’t have that diversity as well when you have people capable of doing the job.”
Carter did the job when he was a player. He tallied 202 goals and 219 assists in 674 games over 11 seasons with the Capitals, Boston Bruins,Edmonton Oilers, VancouverCanucks, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, Columbus Blue Jackets and CarolinaHurricanes.
And he did it while wearingdreads.
These days, he’s is part of a growing group of black hockey analysts/broadcasters. Kevin Weekes, a former NHL goaltender, mans the analyst’s desk at the NHL Network. David Amberco-hosts the late Saturday game on “Hockey Night in Canada,” the “Monday NightFootball” of the Great White North.
Tarik El Bashir provides analysis during Washington Capitals broadcasts on NBCSports Washington, where he’s sometimes joined by Carter. Everett Fitzhugh is the voice of the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL.
Last month, Fitzhugh was part of a television team chosen to call the CCM-ECHL All-StarGame that aired on NHL Network.
All these guys, to paraphrase Chance the Rapper, are doing that hockey.
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