It's February and of course that means Black History! I began my observance of this month by watching the Atlanta Thrashers play the New York Islanders on SportSouth here in Atlanta. You immediately get the connection between hockey and black history, right? No, ok, i'll help you. I am very proud of our NHL franchise here in Atlanta as we dress for action 5 of the leagues 17 black players. Dustin Byfuglien, Evander Kane (named after Atlanta's own Evander Holyfield), Anthony Stewart, Johnny Oduya and Nigel Dawes. The Thrashers also picked up Sebastian Owuya in the 6th round of the NHL entry draft in July making a possible 6th in the future lineup! Maybe you wonder why I am being so politically incorrect with my use of "black" and not "African American" well actually this was not a typo or insensitivity on my part, you see only Byfuglien, from Minneapolis is American. The rest of the group coming from either Europe or Canada. This just 53 years after
Willie O'Ree broke the color barrier in hockey wearing the number 22 with the Boston Bruins from 1957 to 1979. O'Ree could not have conceived of an NHL locker room with the diversity of the Thrashers, as he was the NHL's lone player of color for 16 seasons. Edmonton Oiler's goaltender Grant Fuhr holds 2 distinctions worthy of note as the first player of African decent to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup and then later to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
For more on Thrashers diversity check out this AP article :