Friday, November 15, 2013

Dorrington Makes History

On Nov. 15, 1950, Arthur Dorrington made history as the first black player to sign a hockey contract. Dorrington's deal was signed with a minor league team affiliated with the New York Rangers. Unlike most sports, there is still not a big presence of black players in professional hockey. However, he did pave the way for some great players.

Dorrington served with the U.S. Army and after service, signed with one of the New York Rangers farm clubs in 1950.

 He chose instead to play for the Atlantic City Seagulls of the Eastern League, leading them to a league championship in 1951.

After a career-ending injury, he built a second profession as an officer in the Atlantic County Sheriff's Department.

Since Dorrington, several black players have signed with professional hockey teams including two Stanley Cup Winner Pokey Reddick, and Grant Fuhr. Fuhr would be the first black player inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and the first black player to win the Stanley Cup.

Dirk Graham was the NHL’s first black captain, and first black head coach. He played for the Minnesota Northstars and the Chicago Blackhawks, and coached the Blackhawks in the 1998-1999 season.

Tony McKegney was the first black player to participate in a full season. He played with the Buffalo Sabres, Quebec Nordiques, Minnesota Northstars, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues, Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks.

Willie O’Ree was the first black player to be signed by an NHL team, in 1958 he signed with the Boston Bruins.

Alton White, was the first black player to score a major league hat trick, he played for the New York Raiders, Los Angeles Sharks, Michigan Stags and the Baltimore Blades.

Currently 28 black players play in the NHL including two goalies Chris Beckford-Tseu, and Ray Emery. Of the current 28 black players in the NHL, only one, Dustin Byfuglien has won a Stanley Cup, in 2010 with the Chicago Blackhawks.