Black History Month showed how far hockey has come in terms of diversity and inclusion and how much further it has to go.
The contributions of black players were chronicled aboard the National Hockey League’s American Legacy Black Hockey History bus, a mobile museum that toured eight cities as part of the league’s Black History Month celebration.
Women of color enjoyed attending games together in New York, Nashville and Brooklyn last month as part of the Black Girl Hockey Club, a sisterhood that keeps growing after each event.
Willie O’Ree continued to be showered with the accolades that he deserves as the NHL’s first black player and the godfather of a generation of minority players and fans through the league’s “Hockey is for Everyone” initiative.
O’Ree, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November, was feted at the Canadian Embassy in Washington last month. There, attending members of the U.S. House of Representatives announced that they’re introducing a bill to award O’Ree the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by Congress.
But February’s hockey highs shared headlines with a low when some people – let’s not call them fans – racially taunted black forward Jonathan Diaby, a 2013 Nashville Predators third-round draft pick, and his family at a semi-professional Ligue Nord-Americaine de Hockey game in Quebec.
Some of the spectators in the arena acted as if they had never seen a hockey player of color before, a sad reaction considering that minorities are part of the game’s past, present and future.
So I asked Color of Hockey readers to send pictures to show just how entrenched we are in the game. And, boy, you responded big time – from pee wee players to pros. Thank you all for sharing your photos, your stories, and your love of the game.
Consider this a Hockey Family Photo Album. There will be a Page 2 with more photos in the coming days. People who sent pictures without information like the names of the people in the shots, please send them again to email@example.com with the relevant information.
Kendall Day. left. and Dmitri Williams, Columbus Ice Hockey Club (Photo/Courtesy of Deneen Day).
Reilly Love, Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation. “I played elite hockey growing in NY. I still play men’s league in the Philly area,” father Julian Love said in an email. “Sometimes I felt like I was the only one of color playing hockey.” (Photo/Courtesy Julian Love).
Hockey is a generational thing in Trazana (Brown) Powell’s family. “So my dad, Carl Brown, 67 YEARS YOUNG. plays hockey twice a week with the Quincy Bald Eagles and a pick up league of older guys,” Powell wrote via email. “Born In Jamaica but when he got to the States he fell in love with hockey! Taught himself to skate and never stopped.”
Carl Brown getting ready to skate with the Quincy Bald Eagles (Photo/Courtesy Trazana Powell).
“FAST FORWARD to the birth of me!” Powell continued. “My dad put (me) on skates at 1, started hockey at 10, excelled. Played on numerous teams mainly with boys, played in high school (varsity) played at Northeastern University and now Coach! Which I believe is my passion! Even til this day I am known in my town as “that black girl that played hockey”
Trazana (Brown) Powell playing for Northeastern University (Photo/Courtesy Trazana Powell).
“My oldest son, Cameron Powell,age 10, started hockey about 2 years ago
and I’m so proud of his determination and love for the family game,” Powell wrote. “He plays on two teams, The Southeast Cyclones and with Score Boston Hockey. Last year he had the opportunity to meet Willie O’Ree and its a day he still talks about today.”
Cameron Powell (Photo/Courtesy Trazana Powell).
Twins Cree and Chloe Powell, 5. Cree plays hockey. Chloe “hasn’t gotten the hockey bug yet but stay tuned!!!” her mother said (Photo/Courtesy Trazana Powell).
Desmond Allman “is all hockey, all the time,” dad Marc Allman wrote. “It’s not easy being a black hockey player in a mostly white sport (with white parents on top of that), but Des thrives. He got his first N word thrown his way in a tournament a few weeks ago, but he continues to march on” (Photo/Courtesy Marc Allman).
Kevin Horton, left, and his buddy, Brad. “We do that hockey,” Horton said in an email. Photo/Courtesy Kevin Horton).
Adrien Bray sent a photo “From my first year of beer league (The Beerwings of Detroit,MI),” she wrote. “We won our first tournament… I was the only woman and my friend and I were the only black folk. ” (Photo/Courtesy Adrien Bray).
Adrien Bray and her Beerwings teammates (Photo.Courtesy Adrien Bray).
Washington Blind Hockey Club player Tyrese Springer. He is visually impaired due to albinism. (Photo/Courtesy Washington Blind Hockey Club).
Washington Blind Hockey Club player Tyrese Springer in action (Photo/Courtesy Washington Blind Hockey Club).
Courtney Szto plays for the Hatchicks in Vancouver (Photo/Courtesy Courtney Szto).
Mark Fraser, a former NHL defenseman who’s now playing for HKM Zvolen in Slovakia, sent this via Twitter:
Roman Ephron, 8, of Houston Texas. He began hockey through the Dallas Stars’ Learn to Play program in 2015. “He began skating in 2014 and fell in love with ice skating,” mother Bea Ephron wrote “There is no place he’d rather be.” (Photo/Courtesy Bea Ephron).
Donna Zephrine, Long Island Rough Riders sled hockey (Photo/Courtesy Donna Zephrine).
Leah Frazier from Odenton, Maryland. “The tutu is for Halloween,” she wrote. (Photo/Courtesy Leah Frazier).
Nathan King, goaltender, St. Mary’s Catholic Central High School in Ohio. I” was born in Accra, Ghana my family moved to the United States when I was 3 and I started skating at around 7,” he wrote. “I’m 17 now and have been playing goalie ever since I started.” (Photo/Courtesy Nathan King).
Max Nguyen of the Los Angeles Jr. Kings. Mom Lydia Nguyen said Max is “1/2 Vietnamese 1/4 Japanese” and is one of 8 players of color on his team (Photo/Courtesy Lydia Nguyen).
Nate Mitton, forward, for the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL. “I grew up outside of Toronto, my mom moved to Canada from Jamaica with my grandmother,” Mitton wrote. “My dad put me and my brother in hockey and it’s been my passion ever since. I am very proud to be a black hockey player I remember when I was little my dad got me a Willie O’Ree collectors hockey card. My dream is to inspire other kids to chase their dreams.” (Photo/Courtesy Nate Mitton/Tony Bailey Photography).
Rachel Woods and Erica Melcher (Photo/Courtesy Rachel Woods).
Erica Melcher getting down to business on the ice (Photo/Courtesy Erica Melcher).
From a little boy in New York to a grown man living in Amsterdam, hockey has always been a part of Ted Iglesias’s life.
A young Theodore Iglesias (Photo/Courtesy Theodore Iglesias).
“I am bi-racial, from Curaçao and southern Spain,” Iglesias wrote. “I am 49 and have been playing and skating since age 4. I am originally from the NY metro area and played in junior boarding school, prep school and college. I now coach skills here in Amsterdam with the Amsterdam Tigers organization.” (Photo/Courtesy Theodore Iglesias).
Isaiah Marquez-Greene and Arthur Smith. “There was a 2017 summer hockey tournament in Foxboro, Ma. Isaiah’s team was coming off the ice and Arthur’s summer team was about to play,” Alex Smith wrote. “The kids’ parents knew each other through goalie camps but had no idea they’d be on the same team a season later.” (Photo/Courtesy Alex Smith).
Isaiah Artis, 15, Lehigh Valley Phantoms Youth Hockey Organization. “He agreed to try hockey at the urging of our neighbors/friends we
used to go watch play,” proud mom Eunice Ofori Artis wrote. “He eventually went to “Try Hockey for Free Day”, and he was hooked.” (Photo/Courtesy Eunice Ofori Artis).
Rayla Wilkes, 6, serving as honorary captain for the Metropolitan Riveters of the National Women’s Hockey League (Photo/Courtesy Amanda Wilkes).
Calvin Conway, Wasington, D.C., area. “He eats, sleeps and breathes hockey!” mother Joy Conway wrote. (Photo/Courtesy Joy Conway).
Zander Shank, 8, of Ohio “He has been obsessed with hockey since he was 3 years old!” mom Stephanie Mohr Shank wrote. ” We don’t really know where it comes from other than watching the Pittsburgh Penguins on TV. He LOVES hockey. Loves, loves, loves it.” (Photo/Courtesy Stephanie Mohr Shank.)
Eli Shank, 11, was inspired to play hockey by his younger brother, Zander (Photo/Courtesy Stephanie Mohr Shank).
Tarasai Karega, far right, with NCAA Division III hockey championship Trophy she won with Amherst College in 2009 (Photo/Courtesy Tarasai Karega).
Ayodele Adeniye, Carleton Place Canadians, a Junior A team in the Central Canada Hockey League. Adeniye is committed to play hockey for the University of Alabama-Huntsville in 2020 (Photo/Courtesy Ayodele Adeniye).
Meet the Lowry brothers.
Jake Lowry. “They are half African -American and half Indian. We live in Summit NJ,” their mother, Camellia, wrote. “Jake Lowry #17 played Bantam Minor AAA for NJ Titans this past season. He also played for Summit Middle School. He’s been playing travel hockey since 1st grade and is now in 8th grade (Photo/Courtesy Camellia Redmerski)”
“Jordan Lowry #18 played Bantam Major AAA for NJ Titans this last season,” his mother wrote. “He also is on the Varsity and JV roster for Summit High School and is a freshman. He’s been playing travel hockey since 2nd grade (Photo/Camellia Redmerski).”
Rivington D. Jones (Photo/Courtesy R. Douglas Jones).
The Fort Dupont Cannons of Washington, D.C., 2018 (Photo/Courtesy AJ Messier/Hogtown Studios).
Maryland’s Tucker Road Ducks, 2017 (Photo/Courtesy Tucker Road Ducks).
The Tucker Road Ducks and the Banners of Baltimore, Maryland, 2019.
Ice Hockey in Harlem, 2016 (Photo/Courtesy Ice Hockey in Harlem).
Inner City Education program of Chicago. “We provide the children with equipment, coaching, practice twice a week, tutoring every time they come to practice and the opportunity to earn scholarships!” Coach Mark Giarelli wrote (Photo/Courtesy Mark Giarelli).
Brandon Romany of the Kitchener Dutchman (Photo/Courtesy Brian Romany).
Brandon’s father, power skating instructor Brian Romany laces up the skates (Photo/Courtesy Brian Romany).
Peyton Francis, right), who’ll play hockey for the University of Alabama-Huntsville next season, is a Carleton Place Canadians forward who also skates for the Jamaican national team initiative (Photo/Courtesy Mark Francis).
Isaiah Nokken, 12, of Spring Lake Park, Minnesota. Isaiah was born in Ethiopia and got involved in hockey through his cousins. “His grandfather was a high school hockey coach so has been around a lot of hockey watching and playing,” mom Kari Nokken wrote (Photo/Courtesy Kari Nokken).
Stay tuned for Page 2 of the Hockey Family Photo Album.
Follow the Color of Hockey on Facebook and Twitter @ColorOfHockey. And download the Color of Hockey podcast from iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud and Google Play.