The Coloured Hockey League was the home of Canada’s top Black players and the venue for their advancements in the game from its founding in Nova Scotia in 1895 until its demise in 1930. While Eddie Martin of the Halifax Eureka was the first player to use the slapshot, the CHL was the first league to witness goalies bending down to make a save. When Black players were ultimately admitted to the NHL decades after the league’s dissolution, the initial sense of accomplishment was quickly dampened by racist occurrences both on and off the ice, sometimes by xenophobic spectators and other members of the profession, like fellow players and even coaches.
Image courtesy of CBC.ca The Truro Sheiks, one of the Colored Hockey League’s teams, in 1931. (Submitted by David Carter)Women and men from both major and minor leagues, including Akim Aliu, Saroya Tinker, Mark Connors, and Wayne Simmonds, are among the impressive group of athletes that Davis has incredibly gathered to share their perspectives and testimonies. Their experiences are illuminating and frequently upsetting, but their courage in telling their tales and their belief in the inherent beauty and thrill of hockey give Black Ice a contagious feeling of hope for a more inclusive future.