February 2 — Tom Brady & Black NHL Firsts

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

“C” YOU IN BEIJING: To no one’s surprise, Team Canada named Eric Staal as captain of the men’s Olympic hockey team ahead of the Winter Games in Beijing. The long-time Carolina Hurricanes captain previously won Olympic gold as a member of the 2010 team that triumphed on home soil in Vancouver.

HOCKEY HEROES: Just over a week after Quinton Byfield met an 8-year-old fan by the same name at Madison Square Garden, the two were reunited on “NHL Now” yesterday. Big Quinton invited “Little QB” and his family out to Los Angeles to attend a Kings game at the newly named Crypto.com Arena. Both Quintons originally hail from the Toronto area, and both of their fathers are native Jamaicans. 

RHÉAUME-ING PLAY: Manon Rhéaume will come out of retirement to participate in the Adidas NHL Breakaway Challenge as part of the 2022 NHL All-Star Skills in Las Vegas on Friday. Rhéaume made history in 1992 when she became the first female to appear in an NHL preseason game for the Tampa Bay Lightning against the St. Louis Blues.

FULL SLATE OF GAMES: There were 11 NHL games played last night across the league, highlighted by the Arizona Coyotes ending the Colorado Avalanche’s 18-game home winning streak. Catch up on all of Tuesday’s games here.

Wild Card Watch

Eastern Conference

Washington Capitals: At one point, the Capitals were the top team in the Metropolitan Division thanks to the play of Alexander Ovechkin. Washington has been slowly sliding down the standings and has swapped places with the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are third in the division. Although the Caps are entering the All-Star break on a two-game winning streak, they have been a mediocre 5-5-0 in their last 10 contests. 

Boston Bruins: The Bruins have been holding steady in the second wild-card spot, and it doesn’t appear any team is in a position to threaten their place. The Detroit Red Wings are nine points below them, and with a record of 4-4-2 in their last 10, fans shouldn’t expect Detroit to catch Boston anytime soon. In Boston’s last 10 games, the Bruins have gone 6-3-1, and if they keep up their pace of play, they should easily be postseason bound. 

Team to Watch: Toronto Maple Leafs

Western Conference

St. Louis Blues: The Blues have been an intriguing team this season. They have been consistently a top team in the Central Division but have been knocked down to a wild-card spot thanks to the surging Colorado Avalanche and the Minnesota Wild, who have won their last five games. It looks like the Central Division will be the division to watch as we enter the second half of the schedule. 

Calgary Flames: The Flames had a strong start but cooled off as the season progressed. They are currently three points behind the LA Kings for the third spot in the Pacific Division. Along with the Edmonton Oilers, they have played 41 games, the fewest in their division. Their biggest competition will be the San Jose Sharks, who are only two points below them in the standings. 

Team to Watch: Edmonton Oilers

Black Firsts in the NHL

It’s February, which means it’s also Black History Month. To commemorate the occasion, let’s look back at black history in hockey, highlighting some of the accomplishments and the pioneers who achieved them.

First Black Hockey League: Coloured Hockey League (CHL) of the Maritimes (1895)

The CHL was an all-black hockey league started in Halifax by Baptist ministers and was active from 1895 to 1925. It is credited by many as the league that invented the slapshot.

First Black Player Signed to a Pro Contract: Art Dorrington (1950)

The Canadian center was signed by the New York Rangers in 1950, becoming the first black hockey player to sign a contract with a professional team. He played in the minors but didn’t get to the NHL.

First Black NHL Player: Willie O’Ree (1958)

Hailed as the Jackie Robinson of hockey, the Canadian winger broke the NHL color barrier when he debuted with the Boston Bruins on Jan. 18, 1958. He played 43 more games in the NHL and over 20 years of pro hockey.

Willie O’Ree (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

First Black Player Drafted in the NHL: Mike Marson (1974)

The annual NHL Entry Draft began in 1963, and the Canadian winger became the first black player selected when the Washington Capitals took him with the 19th-overall pick in the 1974 Draft. He played five seasons in the NHL.

First Black Player to win the Stanley Cup: Grant Fuhr (1984)

The first black NHL goaltender when he entered the league in 1981, the Canadian also became the first black player to hoist the Stanley Cup when he won it with the Edmonton Oilers in 1984.

First Black Pro Hockey Coach: John Paris Jr. (1984)

The Windsor native became the first black person to be a pro hockey head coach when he became bench boss of the International Hockey League’s Atlanta Knights. He won a championship with the Knights that season and remained in charge until 1996.

First Black Captain in the NHL: Dirk Graham (1989)

The Canadian winger was the captain for the Chicago Blackhawks from 1989 to 1995, making him the first black player to don the “C.” He was also the first black player to win the Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward in 1991.

Dirk Graham, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by B Bennett/Getty Images)

First Black NHL Official: Jay Sharrers (1990)

The Jamaican-born linesman became the NHL’s first black official when he worked a game between the Boston Bruins and Quebec Nordiques on Oct. 6, 1990. He officiated more than 1,000 games in the NHL and reffed in the Olympics.

First Black NHL Coach: Graham (1998)

After a successful playing career, Graham made history as the NHL’s first black head coach when he took the reins of the Chicago Blackhawks for the 1998-99 season. He was 16-35-8 in 59 games at the helm.

First Black NHL Player to Lead League in Goals/Points: Jarome Iginla (2002)

The Canadian winger and Calgary Flames’ all-time leader in career games, goals, and points led the NHL in goals (52) and points (96) during the 2001-02 season.

Jarome Iginla of the Calgary Flames poses with the Art Ross Trophy during the NHL Awards on June 20, 2002 (Photo by Silvia Pecota/NHLI via Getty Images)

First Black Player to win an Olympic Gold Medal: Iginla (2002)

Arguably the greatest black NHL player of all time, Iginla also made a mark internationally, becoming the first black person to win a gold medal in the Winter Olympics (in any sport) as part of the Canadian men’s team in Salt Lake City in 2002.

First Black Hockey Hall-of-Famer: Fuhr (2003)

Fuhr, a six-time All-Star and a five-time Stanley Cup champion, earned an induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003. He was the first black player to receive the honor.

First Black Woman College Hockey Coach: Kelsey Koelzer (2021)

The 26-year-old Pennsylvania native and first black player to be drafted first overall in the 2016 National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) Draft became the first black woman head hockey coach in NCAA history. She took charge of Arcadia University’s women’s team last May and is currently 7-12-0 on the season.

TB12 and Hockey

The retirement of NFL legend Tom Brady has resonated across the sports world, and the NHL is no exception. While it may not seem like the seven-time Super Bowl champion holds much of a connection to the hockey world, there’s more of a link than meets the eye. I mean, you can’t attend college at Michigan and spend most of your pro career in hockey-mad Boston without some exposure to the game, right?

Here’s how TB12 and the sport of hockey are more intertwined than you think:

Tom Brady, Hockey Dad

Tom isn’t the only athlete in the Brady household. His son, 12-year-old Ben, took an interest in hockey at a young age, and his dad has been on hand to cheer him on whenever possible. In early 2017, Brady was at the rink to carry his son’s bag and take in practice just a day before the AFC Championship Game.

Brady and Chara

For 13 years, Brady dominated on the football field for the New England Patriots, while iconic defensive giant Zdeno Chara patrolled the blue line for the Boston Bruins. Naturally, the two developed a fast friendship as fellow Boston sports greats. When Chara announced his departure from the city in an Instagram post in late 2020, Brady, who had left town for Tampa Bay nine months prior, replied by posting, “Best of luck to you, Zee.”

Lightning Supporter

Boston sports fans could never stay mad at Brady, even after he headed south to win a Super Bowl in Tampa Bay. Still, you could forgive the Bruins faithful if they were a little peeved when the star quarterback was featured in a hype video for the Tampa Bay Lightning and even congratulated the club on its back-to-back Stanley Cups. Had he ever done anything like that for the B’s?

Lord Stanley Banter

Following Brady’s infamous boat-to-boat Lombardi Trophy toss, the Stanley Cup’s Twitter account got in on the fun, tweeting to the quarterback, “FYI, I’m too heavy to throw, @TomBrady.” Sure enough, the five-time Super Bowl MVP came ready with a response, tweeting back, “Idk… everything feels a bit lighter after some tequila”.

NHL Standings

NHL’s Leading Scorers

Today’s NHL Schedule