Words by Samuel Thompson
Of the four major North American sports, hockey has long been considered the whitest. It’s not an unfair assumption. Although the NHL’s color barrier was broken by Willie O’Ree way back in the 1950s, black players only began making waves in the league in the ’80s and ’90s. Even then, stars like Hall of Famer Grant Fuhr and still-active Jarome Iginla were few and far between. They’ve also — like the rest of the players in the league — been overwhelmingly Canadian.
Canada is a young nation of immigrants (all of whom eventually become obsessed with hockey, the unofficial national religion), and Canada’s black population has largely Caribbean roots, which has led to an increasing number of high-profile players of Caribbean heritage in recent years. This list is by no means exhaustive, and includes up-and-coming prospects alongside established stars, but it covers NHLers who self-identify with a wide range of Caribbean nations. They’re part of a growing demographic in the sport, as the face of Canada — and its national obsession — continues to change.