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Mon, 02.04.1895

The Colored Hockey League formed

*On this date in 1895, the Colored Hockey League was formed.  This was an all-Black ice hockey league which featured teams from across Canada's Maritime Provinces. 

The league was founded by a group of four Black Baptist leaders and intellectuals: Pastor James Borden of Dartmouth Church; James A.R Kinney, who would go on to be the first Black graduate from the Maritime Business College; James Robinson Johnston, who would become the first Black graduate from Dalhousie University's law program on top of being the first black Nova Scotian to graduate from University; and Henry Sylvester Williams, a Trinidadian intellectual who would go on to found the Pan African Association and the First Pan African Conference and become the first Black Barrister to be called to the bar in the Cape Colony.  

Africville Sea Sides, 1921

Among the teams in the league were the Halifax Eurekas, based in Halifax, and the Amherst Royals, based in Amherst. At its zenith, the league had teams in seven communities in Nova Scotia and one in Prince Edward Island.  With as many as a dozen teams, over 400 Black Canadian players from across Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island participated in competition. The Colored Hockey League is credited by some as being the first league to allow the goaltender to leave his feet to cover a puck in 1900. This practice was not permitted elsewhere until the formation of the National Hockey League in 1917. In their book Black Ice: The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes, 1895-1925, historians George and Darril Fosty state that the first player to use the slapshot was Eddie Martin of the Halifax Eureka in 1906.  The league operated for several decades lasting until 1930.  

In January 2020, Canada Post unveiled a postage stamp featuring the 1906 champion Halifax Eurekas to commemorate the history of Black hockey players in Canada.  

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