A black hockey fan recently spoke out about the lack of African-American engaged in the sport. She speaks about the fact that there are only 20 black players in the entire NHL. One of those few black players is Joel Ward, who scored a game 7 OT goal that led to a Twitter uproar. Many hockey fans refereed to him as a monkey and even used the n-word when describing him. Ebony reports:
Confession – I’m a hockey fan. Yes, hockey. And like my honors classes in high school, being a Black girl in a hockey arena can often be a lonely experience.
Undoubtedly, the “whitest” of the four major sports league the National Hockey League boasts less than 20 Black players and few Black fans. Nevertheless for me, hockey was a game that intrigued, but slightly confused me until my oldest brother took me to my first St. Louis Blues game as tween and I became hooked.
Further fueling my fandom legendary Afro-Canadian goalie Grant Fuhr (who hockey great Wayne Gretzky refers to as the greatest goaltender in NHL history) came to play for my beloved Blues giving me a quiet reassurance and even justification for my love of the game. And though I have overcome the loneliness that comes with loving a sport only a handful of my Black friends and big brother enjoy as much as I do, there are the rare occasions when I feel unwelcome as a hockey fan. Last night’s Game 7 playoff match between the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins was one of them.
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