Time Magazine Surveys Black Hockey

Updated: January 28, 2008


It’s about Time Time Magazine In their latest issue Time Magazine has discovered the dismal state of African Americans in hockey. Should we say better late than never ? But the funniest part the FUNNIEST part is the title of the article the irony which apparently sailed right over the head of Time Magazine editors. They title the article ….

” Will Hockey Ever Get Its Tiger Woods ? ” let’s hope not that would be useless for every other African American Anyway other than the stupid title ( Time how many other professional African American golfers are there since Tiger Woods arrived on the scene more than a decade ago ? ) there is a worthwhile article here if only to emphasize the lack of progress African Americans have made in ice hockey so here are the highlights of the article …..

” During the first intermission of Sunday’s NHL All-Star game in Atlanta, the league is honoring Willie O’Ree, who broke hockey’s color barrier 50 years ago. But half a century later, with hockey in desperate need of new fans to restore its fading relevance in the U.S., the game still holds very little appeal among blacks.”

Out of the 700 or so players on NHL rosters today, only 12 are black — a level that has remained flat over the last decade. “Sport as an institution doesn’t just fall out of the sky,” says Earl Smith, a Wake Forest University sociologist who wrote about blacks in hockey in his 2007 book Race, Sport and the American Dream. “It has to be embedded in the community, in the society the sport is trying to reach. For the NHL, it’s a losing proposition.”

here is some more ….

” But even if it’s true that more blacks have taken up hockey, the sport still lacks a fan base in urban areas. And luring more blacks to hockey might be an impossible task. The sport hasn’t been particularly kind to blacks. The game is littered with racial hostilities toward black players, from both fans and opposing players. While the vitriol isn’t as vicious as it was in O’Ree’s day, Coleman has heard the n-word on the ice; just five years ago, some slob threw a banana at ex-Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Kevin Weekes during a playoff game.”

” The sport also faces structural challenges for inner-city players. “You have to make it more accessible,” says Calgary Flames star Jarome Iginla, who grew up in Edmonton and is one of the best black players of all-time. “Basketball courts are everywhere. Baseball diamonds, football fields, soccer fields, all those things are readily available. Hockey, unfortunately, has more obstacles.”

and this dismal concluding paragraph ….

” There are few rinks in inner cities, and where there are facilities, you have to pay for ice time often at very odd morning and evening hours. And unless you live by a frozen Saskatchewan pond, you can’t just round up your buddies for a pickup game. Between equipment, travel to rinks, and ice fees, hockey is also prohibitively expensive for many urban families. “How are you going to convince parents to pay $6,000 so their kids can play hockey?” asks Coleman. The NHL could invest more money to subsidize these costs for potential players, but with so few African-American pros in the sport today, who could these kids emulate? Why would they even bother with hockey, when they see so many African-Americans succeeding in basketball, football, and other sports ? ”

The fact is what Time Magazine portrays the NHL as a valiant effort to attract African Americans isn’t and the reason Time Magazine concludes the situation is out of their hands the result of factors outside of their control or their corporate sponsors is nonsense.

IF the NHL was serious …

All they would have to do is create a special temporary hockey ” Negro League” and train talented young African Americans who will play against each other in major arenas and the best The African American All Stars will play regular exhibition games against the NHL and top college teams. That will not only build fan interest and gain Black players but it will be the best way to nurture African American talent who will become players who will then become players in the NHL.

But instead the NHL

like Time Magazine

is waiting for

” The Tiger Woods of Hockey ” to arrive out of thin air and

again the LAST thing

African Americans need

is a hockey version of

Tiger Woods