Popsicle Brothers Report (Part Four)

By Gary Norris Gray
Updated: February 11, 2009

NHL CALIFORNIA — We continue BASN’s reports by myself and Michael-Louis Ingram on Black players in the NHL. We begin with the introduction of all of the current Black players with their current teams.

The New Jersey Devils are currently leading the league with four Black players three defenseman and a goalie. Following right behind are the Toronto Maple Leafs who suit up three Black players.


Donald Brashear, LW, Washington Capitols

He is now the oldest Black player in the league. Years ago Brashear captured this nation’s attention regarding violence in the National Hockey League in 2000. He received a major concussion in Vancouver after being attacked on the ice from behind by Marty McSorley with his hockey stick. McSorley was suspended. This ugly incident changed the face of hockey forever with new fighting rules. A new mean and mellow Brashear now dons the alternate “A” captain insignia on his sweater in Washington.

Dustin Byfuglien, RW, Chicago Blackhawks

A 2003 draft choice in the 8th round. Dustin is one of the larger players in the league at 6-feet-3 and 246 pounds. He has 9 goals and 10 assist for 19 points.

Nigel Dawes, LW, New York Rangers

Dawes is another 2003 draft choice in the 5th round. Dawes has 8 goals and 8 assist for 16 points at the halfway point of the season. He also owns New Jersey Devil Martin Brodeur, almost scoring at will against the cross river revival. Dawes has become the shootout specialist for the Rangers.

Andre Deveaux, C, Toronto Maple Leafs

Deveaux is from the Bahamas and signed with the Leafs in 2002, coming to the parent club in 2008. He is currently on the third line in Toronto and many hockey fans will be seeing more of him the 2nd half of the season.

Robbie Earl, LW, Minnesota Wild

A California born and bred player from Los Angeles. Drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2004 and then traded to the Wild in 2009. Earl currently plays for the minor league affiliate Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League.

Mike Grier, RW, San Jose Sharks

It seems like Grier has found a home in San Jose with the first place Western Division Sharks. San Jose can now start resting their starters while getting ready for the playoffs already. Grier has 18 points at the midway point of the season 9 goals with 9 assist. Look out Detroit!

Jarome Iginla, RW, Calgary Flames

The best black player in the NHL, a team captain, five time All Star, and arguably the best power forward in the league. Drafted by the Dallas Stars in 1995 and traded to Calgary that same year. Iginla has three 50 goal seasons and working on the fourth.

George Laraque, RW, Montréal Canadians

The fastest skater I’ve ever seen. The world got a glimpse of him with the Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning a few years ago. The world might get another chance to see him with the surging Canadiens in the Northeast Division.

Jamal Mayers, RW, Toronto Maple Leafs

Mayers was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the 1993 Entry Draft, traded to the Leafs in 2008. He has 71 carrier goals and 87 assist all for the Blues. This year Jamal has stepped up his game with the Leafs.

Greg Mauldin, RW, Ottawa Senators

The University of Massachusetts standout, two year 32 goals and 32 assist carrier. He was drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2002. He currently plays for the minor league Binghampton Senators waiting for the call to go north and the parent club in Ottawa.

Kendall McArdle, LW, Florida Panthers

McArdle came from Burnaby, British Columbia. In the 2007-08, he split the season with the American Hockey League Rochester Americans and Florida Everblades of the East Coast Hockey League. McArdle has played two games this year with the Panthers. There is a bright future for this young player.

Kyle Okposo, RW, New York Islanders

This brother comes from a Nigerian father and American mother. He has 10 goals and 9 assists for 19 points at the midway point of the season. A protracted contract squabble occuired when Okposo left college early to join the Islander organization. Okposo starred in the United States Hockey League scoring 27 goals and 31 assists with the Des Moines Buccaneers.

Wayne Simmonds, RW, Los Angeles Kings

This big young 20-year old Canadian is 6-feet-2 and 181 pounds. Simmonds was drafted by the Kings in 2007 in the 2nd round. Can we say potential? He currently has 4 goals and 7 assists. The Kings want him to bulk up his frame so he will not get pushed around the ice. Simmonds has great agility and speed and should make it in the National Hockey League.

Anthony Steward, C, Florida Panthers

Steward is nicknamed the “Quebec Wonder” from LaSalle, Quebec. Steward was a 1st round draft choice by the Panthers in 2007 as a free agent at 21 years old. His carrier statistics are 3 goals and 6 assist. Steward is a very big player at 6-feet-2 and 240 pounds and he cannot be moved when he is in the slot. When he perfects his touch around the net, watch out goalies!

Chris Stewart, RW, Colorado Avalanche

This brother had to fight at an early age with seven brothers and sisters in his family the dinner table became a battle ground. He entered the draft in 2006 as a first rounder with the Avalanche. His statistics are 7 goals and 6 assist for a total of 13 points at the mid-way point of the season.

Joel Ward, RW, Nashville Predators

Ward was drafted by the Minnesota Wild. At the halfway point of the season has 6 goals and 9 assists with 15 points. This player is scrappy and will defend any other teammate.


Shawn Belle, Montreal Canadians

Alberta native Belle honed his skills in the American Hockey League with the Iowa Stars and Houston Aeros. He was originally drafted by the St. Louis Blues in 2003 then traded to the Dallas Stars. Belle has been called up twice in the past two years.

Francis Bouillon, Nashville Predators

Signed by the Montreal Canadians as a free agent in 1998, he missed most of the seasons in 2001 through 2003. A mixed cultured player, “The Cube” has a French Canadian mother and Haitian father. He is an enforcer for the Predators and other teams are very aware of it. “Le Petit Guerrier”, the little warrior, is his nickname — for his intense play on ice.

Derek Joslin, San Jose Sharks

Signed on December 26, 2006, he made his NHL debut on January 3, 2009 against the New York Islanders. Before that he made a four year stint in the Ontario Hockey League with the Ottawa 67’s and the Worcester Sharks of the American Hockey League.

Theo Peckham, Edmonton Oilers

Played for the Ontario Hockey League Owen Sound Attack and the Springfield Falcons Peckham is a Ontario native drafted in 2006 in the third round by the Oilers. He is the new enforcer at 6-feet-2 and 223 pounds for Edmonton and should be there for a long time.

Mark Fraser, New Jersey Devils

Frasier was a third round draft choice for New Jersey in 2005. This defenseman is 6-feet-4′ and 200 pounds is the future Devils enforcer. He was sent back to the American Hockey League because of the number of defensemen at the ROCK in Newark but he will be back in a Jersey Devil uniform soon.

Johnny Oduya, New Jersey Devils

Oduya was drafted by the Washington Capitols in 2001 and is another brother from the motherland of Kenya. His career statistics are eight goals and 30 assists. He also has put up a stone wall around Clemmensen this year.

Bryce Salvador, New Jersey Devils

With Salvador and Oduya on the ice the Devils have a strong and fast defense in the Eastern Conference making many Devil forget about Scott Stevens and Scott Gomez. This should help Brodeur when he returns in two weeks. The Devils are currently in first place and should stay there the rest of the year. The threat too New Jersey this spring are the fading 2nd place New York Rangers.

Trevor Daley, Dallas Stars

Daley has finally put a wall up on the Dallas goal crease, helping Marty Turco in goal. Daley was the object of anger from Ex-goalie John Vanbiesbrouck of the New York Rangers, New York Islanders, and Florida Panthers calling him the N word many times during practice. Vanbiesbrouck, coach of Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, whom Daley played for Vanbiesbrouck later apologized to the Ontario Hockey League and gave up his job and his stock in the team.

Vanbiesbrouk also has worked for the Versus Hockey Television Network. This network has had a few incidences on issues of Black players in all sports on their telecast. They have yet to apologies for their remark about the African American National Anthem three months ago.

Daley’s NHL carrier statistics are 13 goals and 43 assists all with the Dallas Stars. This year he has scored six times with 13 assist a total of 19 points midway through the 2009 season.


Chris Beckford-Tseu, St. Louis Blues

Drafted by the St. Louis in 2003, Tseu played his first game against the Los Angeles Kings in 2006. Tseu is truly what the worlds melting pot is made of, he is half Jamaican and half Chinese. Tseu has the same butterfly style of Patrick Roy. With his size at 6-feet-3 and 201 pounds it’s very hard to pass the puck through him for a goal.

Kevin Weekes, New Jersey Devils

One of the most traveled goalies of our times. Weekes plays with the old stand up style of goaltending. He does not roam around the goalie crease like Brodeur. The Devils defensemen had become lazy with the active Brodeur and were not use to Weekes style this created many mistakes the first few games the Kevin was in net. Weekes has been on two Stanley Cup Finals teams. Weekes has played for seven teams in the National Hockey League has finally found a home in the Meadowlands of New Jersey. Many thought he would get to start after all star goalie Martin Brodeur went down two weeks into the 2009 season with a major arm injury. Kevin received his fifth win of the season last Friday night against the Atlanta Thrashers 5-1 stopping 31 of 32 shots on net.

Weeks now plays backup to young standout Scott Clemmensen. Veteran starter Martin Brodeur plans to be in net on Feb 26 against the Colorado Avalanche. This could be a double edge sword for Jersey. Brodeur can play rested and ready for the playoffs or he can play rusty and disrupt the current Devils chemistry. Only time will tell.

Ray Emery, Ottawa Senators

Many avid hockey fans are asking what happened to this standout goalie. This is one of the most talented hockey players of our times. He just did not fit well with the older Ottawa Senator team. A team that was in the process of transition changing personnel. He is currently playing in the Russian Federation League and doing very well, making the Super League’s All-Star team.