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Comprised of the sons and grandsons of runaway American slaves, the league helped pioneer the sport of ice hockey changing this winter game from the primitive "gentleman's past-time" of the nineteenth century to the modern fast moving game of today. In an era when many believed blacks could not endure cold, possessed ankles too weak to effectively skate, and lacked the intelligence for organized sport, these men defied the defined myths. [more]

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2/18/2014: Soul on Ice: Blacks and Historic Firsts in Hockey

by Bob Dawson - Ottawa, Canada - February 16, 2014 - Contrary to popular belief, blacks in North America, especially in Canada, have deep roots in organized hockey dating back to the early 19th century. The research by Canadian historians George and Darril Fosty and their groundbreaking book Black Ice: The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes, 1895-1925 attests to this important fact. Despite racism and other societal challenges, the passion for and long association with hockey has over time resulted in a significant number of “historic firsts”, which are, perhaps, not commonly known and worthy of note. They include, among others, the following:

· First and only “all-black league” in hockey history: The Colored Hockey League (CHL) of the Maritimes (1895-1930) The league consisted of teams from Halifax (the Eurekas and Stanley), Africville (the Sea-Sides), Hammond Plains (the Moss Backs), Dartmouth (the Jubilees), Truro (the Sheiks and Victorias), Amherst (the Royals) and Charlottetown, P.E.I. (the West End Rangers).

· First recorded goaltender in hockey to (1) go down on the ice and use the “butterfly style” technique to stop pucks and (2) regularly wander out of his net to play the puck and influence the flow of play: Henry “Braces” Franklyn (1895-1898, Dartmouth Jubilees, Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes) These innovative techniques were later copied in the NHL in the 1950s and remain key elements of the game today.

· First game between an “all-black” team (Halifax Eurekas of the CHL) and “all-white” team (Halifax Chebuctos of the Halifax Senior League) took place in Halifax, Nova Scotia on March 9, 1899. Eurekas won the game 9-7.

· First black to play in the Central Ontario Hockey Association with Woodstock: Hipple “Hippo” Galloway of Dunuville, Ontario (1899).

· First player in organized hockey to pioneer the “slap shot” 25 years before it was introduced in the NHL by Frank “Bun” Cook and later perfected by Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion, Andy Bathgate and Bobby Hull: Eddie Martin (1903, Halifax Eurekas, Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes).

· First black Canadian to play hockey in Canada’s far north: Sam Agee of Dawson City, Yukon (1910 Renzoni Championship Hockey Team).

· First known black star player to be scouted by an NHL team: Fred “Bud” Kelly (1916) Bruce Redpath, manager of the NHL’s Toronto St. Pats (later known as the Maple Leafs), scouted Kelly while a member of Peterborough’s Ontario Hockey Association senior team. The highly talented player was never extended an opportunity to tryout for the team.

· First known black player to play Canadian university hockey: Rev. Doctor William Oliver (1934, Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia).

· First “all-black team” to compete in an integrated hockey league in Ontario: St. Catharines T. S. T. Orioles (1936, Niagara District Hockey League which consisted teams from St. Catharines, Niagara Falls and Guelph).

· First “all-black line” (The Black Aces) to play professional hockey: Herb and Ossie Carnegie of Toronto, Ontario, and Manny McIntyre of Gagetown, New Brunswick (1941-1949, Timmins - Northern Ontario Senior League, Shawinigan Falls and Sherbrooke – Quebec Provincial League).

· First blacks to play hockey in Europe: Herb and Ossie Carnegie, and Manny McIntyre (1947-1948, the Racing Club de Paris, France).

· First black to play NCAA college hockey in the United States: Richard Lord of Montreal, Quebec (1949-1950, University of Michigan).

· First black American to play professional hockey: Art Dorrington, a former Nova Scotian from Truro (1951, Atlantic City Sea Gulls, New Jersey of the Eastern Hockey League).

· First black to play in the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League: Clobie Collins of Truro, Nova Scotia (1953, Grand Falls Andcos).

· First black player to sign a contract with an NHL team, the Detroit Red Wings: John Utendale of Edmonton, Alberta (1955). Utendale never played for the Red Wings, but did play in their farm system at the minor professional level for several years.

· First player to break the “color barrier” and play in the NHL: Willie O'Ree of Fredericton, New Brunswick (1958, Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens).

· First “all-black line” to play Canadian university or college hockey: Bob Dawson, Darrell Maxwell and Percy Paris, all from Nova Scotia (1970, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia).

· First black professional player to score 20 goals in a single season: Alton White of Amherst, Nova Scotia (1972–73, Los Angeles Sharks of the World Hockey Association).

· First black player drafted and play in the NHL after the league’s 13-year lockout of blacks from 1961 to 1974: Mike Marson of Toronto, Ontario (1974, Washington Capitals).

· First time 2 black players played in the NHL on the same team: Mike Marson and Bill Riley of Amherst, Nova Scotia: (1974, Washington Capitals).

· First black goaltender to play in the NHL: Grant Fuhr of Spruce Grove, Alberta (1981, Edmonton Oilers).

· First American born black player to play in the NHL: Val James of Ocala, Florida (1981, Buffalo Sabres).

· First black player to win the Stanley Cup: Grant Fuhr (1983-84, Edmonton Oilers).

· First black player to be named captain of the Canadian Men’s National Hockey Team: Darren Lowe of Toronto, Ontario (1983-84).

· First player voted as the “best import player” to ever play in the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League: Frank “Danky” Dorrington of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia (1985).

· First black NHL player to score 40 goals in a season: Tony McKegney of Montreal, Quebec (1987-88, St. Louis Blues).

· First black player to win the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender: Grant Fuhr (1988, Edmonton Oilers).

· First black team captain in the NHL: Dirk Graham of Regina, Saskatchewan (1988, Chicago Blackhawks).

· First black player to win the Frank J. Selke Trophy for outstanding defensive play by a forward: Dirk Graham (1991, Chicago Blackhawks).

· First black goaltender to win the William M. Jennings Trophy for the lowest goals against: Grant Fuhr (1993-94, Buffalo Sabres).

· First ever black executive to work for the NHL: Bryant McBride, an American by birth who was raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario (1994, Vice- President of Business Development) Among other things, McBride created the Diversity Task Force that lead to the establishment of the NHL’s Diversity Program which is headed by Willie O’Ree.

· First black Head Coach in professional hockey (1994, Atlanta Knights of the International Hockey League) and also professional hockey’s first black General Manager (1996, Macon Whoopee of the Central Hockey League): John Paris of Windsor, Nova Scotia.

· First black Head Coach in Canadian university hockey: former NHL player Darren Lowe of Toronto, Ontario (1995- present, University of Toronto Varsity Blues).

· First professional hockey team owned by blacks: New Orleans Brass of the East Coast Hockey League in New Orleans, Louisiana (1997-2002).

· First black Head Coach in the NHL: Dirk Graham (1998-99, Chicago Blackhawks).

· First black referee to officiate an NHL game: Jay Sharrers of Jamaica, West Indies (2001, Philadelphia Flyers vs. Florida Panthers).

· First black player to win both the Art Ross and Maurice Richard Trophies as the NHL’s leading point getter and goal scorer: Jarome Iginla of Edmonton, Alberta (2001-02, Calgary Flames).

· First black player to win a gold medal in hockey at the Winter Olympics (Salt Lake City, Utah): Jarome Iginla (2002).

· First NHL game to feature the most number of blacks at the same time: (January 15, 2002, St. Louis Blues vs. Edmonton Oilers) Black players involved were Georges Laraque, Anson Carter, Mike Grier and Sean Brown for Edmonton and Jamal Mayers, Bryce Salvador and Fred Brathwaite for St. Louis.

· First black player elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame: Grant Fuhr (2003).

· First black graduate of the NHL’s Diversity Program to be drafted and play in the NHL: goaltender Gerald Coleman of Romeoville, Illinois (2005, Tampa Bay Lightning).

· First black captain of the Canadian Women’s National Hockey Team and first black female to be inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame (2008) and Hockey Hall of Fame (2010): Angela James of Toronto, Ontario.

· First black national TV hockey analyst and color commentator: former NHL player Kevin Weekes of Toronto, Ontario (2009, CBC’s “Hockey Night in Canada”).

· First black American on a Stanley Cup winning team: Dustin Byfuglien of Minneapolis, Minnesota (2010, Chicago Blackhawks).

· As of 2012, the only 2 black player agents certified by the NHL: Eustace King of Evanston, Illinois and Brett Peterson of Northborough, Massachusetts.

· First black player to win the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s Top Defensemen: P. K. Subban of Toronto, Ontario (2013, Montreal Canadiens).

· First black player to be selected in the first round as one of the top 5 picks in an NHL draft: Seth Jones of Arlington, Texas (2013, selected first overall by Nashville Predators).

In time, the list no doubt will grow as more blacks strive for and achieve success in the sport of hockey and related areas.

2/1/2014: Stryker-Indigo assists Fox Sports on Original Pioneers Vignettes

Stryker-Indigo Media: NEW YORK CITY - February 1, 2014 - Stryker-Indigo Media announced today that the company has been assisting the Fox Sports Network in their efforts to produce a series of black hockey vignettes designed to celebrate Black Hockey history and Black History Month.

The vignettes, part of a sporting series entitled 'Original Pioneers', is being produced by award-winning documentary filmmaker Loren Mendell and features character portraits of black hockey pioneers from the Colored Hockey League up to Willie O'Ree, the first black hockey player to play in the NHL.

Historic information and images has been supplied by Stryker-Indigo from its Black Ice book website and private research collections ( as well as George and Darril Fosty's 2004 book, "Black Ice: The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes, 1895 to 1925" and their 2014 book "Tribes: An International Hockey History."

The Original Pioneers vignettes are scheduled to be aired on Fox Sports Networks beginning in February during sporting telecasts.

2/1/2014: Dr. Thomas Mueller joins Sonahr Executive Board

New York City - January 25, 2014 - The Society of North American Sports Historians and Researchers announced today that Dr. Thomas Mueller has joined their Executive Board.

Dr. Mueller received his Bachelor of Science in Geography from Towson University, his Master of Arts in Geography from the University of Connecticut, and his Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Illinois.

For the past 14.5 years he has taught geography at the California University of Pennsylvania. In recent years, he has built a successful geography research agenda through a variety of scholarly endeavors, including conference presentations, grants, technical reports, book reviews and publications in professional journals. His interests include Geographic Information Systems (Computer Mapping), geography education and sports geography. His work centers on efforts to apply spatial theory to the real world, particularly using GIS. Students in his courses have completed real world projects (using sports) for the Philadelphia 76ers, Washington Wild Things (minor league baseball team), and United States Lacrosse.

Dr. Mueller has also taught numerous GIS workshops for members of the local community, professors at Cal U and other campuses and K – 12 community. He is extremely interested in spatial questions examining baseball, hockey, lacrosse, etc. For example, he is currently working on an examination of the spatial analysis of NHL players (birthplaces), draft position, and year.