When we think of the success of Black athletes in sports, we often think of Jackie Robinson breaking the baseball color barrier, Jim Brown leading the NFL not only in rushing but to social change and how every kid who grew up in the ’90s wanted to “be like Mike.” The sport of hockey is not high on the list, so the NHL is trying to change that.
This month to celebrate Black History, the NHL has organized a bus tour that is making its way across the country as a mobile museum that spotlights 200 years of Black achievement on the ice. The mobile museum will be winding down the tour tonight as they bring the bus to the nation’s capital.
The defending Stanley Cup champions, the Washington Capitals, will be joining forces with the Canadian Embassy to the U.S. as they welcome the 525-square foot NHL and American Legacy Black Hockey History Bus Tour.
The franchise will kick off a three-day event tonight by having U.S. Representative John Lewis and NHL legend Willie O’Ree drop the first puck.
O’Ree broke hockey’s color barrier in 1958 when he skated for the first time with the Boston Bruins. O’Ree is a newly minted Hall of Famer.
Lewis has been in the national spotlight for half a century, first as a civil rights activist who spoke at the March on Washington before MLK gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. He was part of the “Big Six” who organized the event. Lewis has spent the past three decades serving in the House of Representatives.
The mobile museum is only part of the NHL’s “Hockey is For Everyone” initiative celebrating diversity and inclusion in hockey. For more information, visit Black History Hockey