Coming to America: Black Hockey

Sooooo … Random question:

200801200951

NHL’s first Black hockey player, Willie O’Ree

Who changes the channel during commercial breaks when you’re watching a game?

Me.

Who changes the channel when a commercial featuring an all-black cast appears during the NHL All-Star Game?

Not Me.

Sunday, a McDonalds commercial featuring only black people aired. I don’t know about you, but that commercial caught my attention. It’s been four days since I first saw it and it still has my attention. It was a typical ad that you’d see run on any network. But, it was on NBC during my favorite sport’s biggest fan-driven game and in front of millions of viewers! And, to make it even better, those same viewers watched Flyers star Wayne Simmonds win the MVP title! All of it had me wondering, is the NHL FINALLY trying to reach out to its black fans?!?!?!? If so …

YESSSS!

I feel like I did when the White Sox won the World Series back in 2005 or when the Blackhawks beat the Bruins in just 17 seconds in 2013: PURE ELATION! I remember going to my first NHL game in 2008 and my friend and I, who’s Dominican, were counting all the black and brown people we saw at the Garden. I don’t think it was more than five people. But we were thrilled to see other fans who looked like us in the stands.

Can you imagine what watching Simmonds win the MVP is doing for a kid on the South Side of Chicago or West Philadelphia or inner-city Boston?! Or, how about simply seeing P.K. Subban and Auston Matthews skate on national TV?! I hope it’s igniting something in them to not only watch hockey but play it.

I hope this is a sign of things to come! I’d love to see an NHL full of Black, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Italian, Irish, Syrian, Iraqi, Filipino, Punjabi, and Japanese players. Bleacher Report thinks so too. Just read this gem about by Evan Moore about the black all-stars and the NHL’s future. I know it won’t be easy. Willie O’Ree was spit on and called all sorts of names when he bravely broke the league’s color barrier in 1958. But his efforts weren’t in vain.

If he can do it, anyone can.

Tea recommendation: Turmeric tea … to wake you up to something new!

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