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Black History Month

Color of Hockey: Game growing from pee wees to pros

Readers of blog share photos demonstrating diversity, inclusion

by William Douglas / Special to

Editor's note: William Douglas, author and creator of "The Color of Hockey," a blog that focuses on "hockey for fans and players of color," posted an entry on Tuesday about the NHL's celebration of Black History Month, while also pointing out how much more there is to do when it comes to diversity and inclusion in hockey. He also had his readers send him photos that show how diverse the game is.

Here is his story:

Black History Month showed how far hockey has come in terms of diversity and inclusion, and how much further it has to go.

The contributions of black players were chronicled aboard the American Legacy Black Hockey History bus, a mobile museum presented by the NHL that toured eight cities as part of the League's Black History Month celebration.

Women of color enjoyed attending games together in New York, Nashville and Brooklyn last month as part of the Black Girl Hockey Club, a sisterhood that keeps growing after each event.

Willie O'Ree continued to be showered with the accolades that he deserves as the first black player in the NHL and the godfather of a generation of minority players and fans through the League's "Hockey is for Everyone" initiative.

O'Ree, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November, was feted last month at the Canadian Embassy in Washington. There, attending members of the U.S. House of Representatives announced that they're introducing a bill to award O'Ree the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by Congress.

But February's hockey highs shared headlines with a low when some people -- let's not call them fans -- racially taunted black forward Jonathan Diaby, a third-round pick (No. 64) of the Nashville Predators in the 2013 NHL Draft, and his family at a semi-professional Ligue Nord-Americaine de Hockey game in Quebec.

Some of the spectators in the arena acted as if they had never seen a hockey player of color before, a sad reaction considering that minorities are part of the game's past, present and future.

So I asked Color of Hockey readers to send pictures to show just how entrenched we are in the game. And, boy, you responded big time -- from pee wee players to pros. Thank you all for sharing your photos, your stories and your love of the game.

Consider this a Hockey Family Photo Album.

[Full blog and photos: Hockey's diversity in pictures from pee wee to the professional leagues]

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