The CHL is Black History

black_ice_eurekas_tffd.jpg

Halifax Eurekas 1906 of the CHL – Coloured Hockey League

In keepinmg intouch with my Canadian Black History research I can across some information about the the game of Hockey and it’s early years. Pretty interesting stuff. I also came across George and Darril Fosty’s book Black Ice which I am currently in the hunt for so I can read it in full.

Here is a post from the Black Athlete Sports Wire:

CELEBRATING OUR BLACK SPORTS HEROES- HOCKEY STYLE!

February is Black History Month.It is also “Hockey is for Everyone Month.” Since 2003, the National Hockey League has set aside the month of February to honor the contributions of blacks to the sport of hockey. To those of you who don’t follow the sport because it’s perceived as only a sport that “white people with no teeth play” are saying to yourselves, “what contributions?”

You may know of current players such as Anson Carter and Jerome Iginla. You may even know of such black hockey pioneers like Willie O’Ree and Grant Fuhr. But that’s as far as it goes. But there is a lot more that blacks have given to the sport of hockey that even an avid hockey fan like myself didn’t even know about.

If you watched the Skills competition in the NHL All Star game, which is in my opinion a lot more entertaining than the game itself, one competition called the “fastest skater” didn’t just originate in the NHL as we know it today. Or what about the “Slap Shot?” Those tradition was passed down from black hockey teams in Canada.

What about the hockey term, “stand up goaltender?” (A little Hockey 101 here. What that means is the goaltender doesn’t crouch to stop the puck from going into the net. He or she stands upright.) Goaltenders on black hockey teams were standing up in the net as early as the 1900’s.

What about the black hockey teams themselves? Just who were they and where did most of them come from?
The Canadian province of Nova Scotia is no bigger than the state of Ohio. One might call Nova Scotia the birthplace of black hockey in Canada because that’s where a lot of the original black hockey players came from. Before there was even an NHL, Blacks were playing hockey in Canada as early as 1895.

Like most Canadian children, white and black, the founding fathers of black hockey played on frozen ponds. Not only in Nova Scotia, but all over Canada.The sport is so engrained in the country, that it didn’t matter that teams like the Halifax Eurekas, Dartmouth Jubilees or Truro Victorias were composed mostly of black players. Canadians love their hockey no matter who played it. Attendance for the outdoor games attracted 1200 people, most of them white Canadians.

We all know or have heard of Willie O’Ree,from the Canadian province of New Brunswick, who is called, “the Jackie Robinson of hockey.” But there were other black hockey players from the other Canadian provinces who were either ahead or contemporaries of O’Ree.

No hockey fan, black or white if they happen to go to Toronto, should miss making a stop at the Hockey Hall of Fame. Black children, who think only white people play hockey would be surprised to find information on the St. Catherine’s(Ontario) Orioles, which was Canada’s first all Black hockey team.

There were other pioneers as well. “The Black Aces”, which was a hockey line composed of Manny McIntyre and brothers herb and Ossie Carnegie who played their hockey in the tough Quebec league.

Hockey fans in the early 1940’s and 1950’s claim that they were one of the greatest lines ever to play hockey in Canada. Black hockey players in Canada didn’t face the vicious racist attacks that Jackie Robinson faced from teammates and opposing players alike here in the United States. In the words of former Edmonton Oilers and Hall of Fame goaltender, Grant Fuhr, which speaks for the feelings of black hockey players, or at least the ones from Canada,”my color wasn’t an issue until I played in the United States.” This is not to say that racism didn’t play some part of why we don’t know more about these black hockey pioneers. If it didn’t, more of them would have played hockey in the NHL rather than Canada or in the hockey minor leagues.

Black history shouldn’t just be celebrated just one month out of 12, nor should recognizing black sports heroes in sports other than baseball, basketball or football.

Now here’s a quote from Black Ice:

The Truth Shall Set Us Free.

Today there are no monuments to the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes. There is no reference to the league in any but a few books on hockey. There is no reference to Henry Sylvester Williams, James Johnston, James Kinney or the scores of players who wore the Colored League uniforms. There is no reference in the Hockey Hall of Fame of the impact that Blacks had in the development of the modern game of hockey. No reference to the Black origin of the slap shot. There is no reference to the Black origin of the offensive style of goal play exhibited by Franklyn. There is no reference to the Black origin of goalies going down on ice in order to stop the puck. There is no reference to the Black practice of entertaining the crowds with a half-time show. It is as if the league had never existed. For hockey is today a sport Whiter in history than a Canadian winter. Page 195 – 196

Wow… why is this?

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