Quick: Name one NHL player not named Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin.
Better yet, name a Black NHL player.
The National Hockey League is a sport that might not be on your radar but thanks to Hockey is For Everyone, more minorities are being exposed to professional hockey.
While hockey is a way of life in Canada, it has struggled to gain popularity in the United States after the devastating work stoppage during the 2004-05 season.
And with the NBA and NFL reaching new heights of popularity and MLB rebounding after a work stoppage of their own, it’s easy to see why the NHL is at the bottom of the “Big 4.”
But of the four sports, you won’t find a more exciting sport to watch in person than hockey.
If you weren’t able to name Kevin Weekes, Anthony & Chris Stewart or nearly the other dozen or so Black players in the league, don’t feel bad.
BET.com recently had the opportunity to chat with the veteran New Jersey Devils goalie and two of the league’s rising stars about how they got involved in hockey and steps the bond between Black players in the NHL.
On how they got involved in hockey:
Anthony Stewart, Florida Panthers:
I started off when I was 4. I got some equipment from my cousin who played semi-pro hockey. On top of that, just watching CBC every Saturday night, watching the Canadians and the Leafs. Despite my economic issues, I had a lot of support from the community and a lot of families pitching in when I needed new equipment.
Chris Stewart, Colorado Avalanche:
Basically, I took the same path as my brother. He got me a tryout in the Ontario League and I played there for three years and I was drafted to Colorado. I played my first year as a pro in Cleveland in the American League and this year I was fortunate enough to be with the big club.
Kevin Weekes, New Jersey Devils:
I grew up in the Toronto area and started playing when I was 6. My cousin played so I followed him. I knew right away that I wanted to be a goalie in the NHL. That was my dream and my goal. I played for the same minor hockey organization for nine years in AAA. I played in the OHL for two years. I was drafted by the Florida Panthers and ended up playing in the minors for two full years and was called up to the Panthers in 1996-97. Read the rest of this entry »