First, I just want to say that this article includes both players that were born in the U.S. and in Canada.
Second, this team will only feature players that carry at least half of their heritage as African-American's.
Third, this list will feature only NHL players—no famous players who played in the CHL, AHL, or international leagues.
Finally, I just want to say that I myself was surprised at how many players actually played in the NHL that were African-American and it opened my eyes as to how diversified the league has become.
1. Anson Carter
Playing in over 600 games and being a two-time 30 goal scorer, Anson Carter was a consistent second line player for most of his career. Ending his career as a journeyman, he is most noted for playing for the Edmonton Oilers and the Boston Bruins. His most famous moment was scoring the deciding goal for Team Canada in the 2003 World Championships in overtime against goalie Mikael Tellqvist.
674 Games Played, 202 Goals, 219 Assists, 229 PIM
2. Nathan LaFayette
Mostly known to Canucks fans as the player who hit the post in the final minutes of Game Seven in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Rangers, he was also involved in a blockbuster deal that brought Jari Kurri and Marty McSorley to the Rangers. He was a solid fourth line player for seven years before his career had to end because of injuries.
187 Games Played, 17 Goals, 20 Assists, 103 PIM
3. Dale Craigwell
Craigwell played for the expansion San Jose Sharks during their first three seasons in existence, but was an average player at best. He was deemed a minor league player where he stayed for the rest of his career, finishing off in Europe playing in England.
98 Games Played, 11 Goals, 18 Assists, 28 PIM
4. Anthony Stewart
Stewart is currently playing for the Florida Panthers and there affiliate, the Rochester Americans. He was a first round pick in the 2003 Entry Draft and is 23 years of age.
As of now: 70 Games Played, 3 Goals, 5 Assists, 16 PIM
1. Tony McKegney
He was the first influential black player to play in the NHL, amassing over 20 goals nine times in his career and 30 goals four times. He played over 900 games over 13 seasons and was always known as a forward that had a rifle of a shot.
912 Games Played, 320 Goals, 319 Assists, 517 PIM
2. Donald Brashear
He is known as one of the best enforcers ever to play the game. He has surpassed the 200 PIM mark five times and has been in the league for over 15 years and counting. This guy will be known as one of the greatest enforcers of our time.
As of now: 955 Games Played, 85 Goals, 118 Assists, 2487 PIM
3. Peter Worrell
He played in the NHL for seven seasons and had everybody scared of him for all seven. He was a big, mean player who tallied over 100 PIM each season, including his first season of 19 games.
He once proclaimed himself as Andreas Lilja while being pulled over by the police. Let's just say Lilja was much smaller and much more Swedish than Worrell was.
391 Games Played, 19 Goals, 27 Assists, 1554 PIM
4. Mike Marson
Marson is on this list not because of his success in the NHL, but because of how he broke ground. He was the second black player ever to play in the NHL, being drafted in the second round of the draft.
He came into the NHL with lofty expectations. After six seasons, he quit to pursue his other passion, martial arts. He is now a black belt and teaches to this day.
196 Games Played, 24 Goals, 24 Assists, 233 PIM
1. Jarome Iginla
What can we say about Jarome Iginla? He has won a gold medal for Canada, has won the Maurice "Rocket" Richard trophy twice, has been to the Stanley Cup finals once, and has been the captain for the Calgary Flames since 2003.
He is an elite player in the NHL and is the face of the franchise. He will forever be the most influential black player of this generation and has a good chance of being in the Hall of Fame someday.
As of now: 890 Games Played, 388 Goals, 407 Assists, 651 PIM
2. Mike Grier
Known as a gritty forward throughout his career, he has always been a solid third line producer who has gotten 20 goals in his career twice, showing that he can produce even with limited playing time.
He is always mistaken for being a football player because of his big build. His grandfather is famous football great Rosey Grier and his family has a history with football.
As of now: 897 Games Played, 141 Goals, 193 Assists, 476 PIM
3. Georges Laraque
Easily the most feared enforcer in the game today, Laraque is both a solid checking player and the biggest heavyweight enforcer that has come across the NHL in quite some time. He has never been one to take a stupid penalty, but is always willing to stick up for his teammates.
As of now: 648 Games Played, 52 Goals, 98 Assists, 1061 PIM
4. Willie O'Ree
The only reason he is so low on this list is because of his career statistics, not because of who he is. The most influential player on this list because of his importance to the NHL as being the first black player in NHL history. His playing in the NHL in 1958 marked a turning point in NHL history.
He stated that when it came to racism, "Fans would yell, 'Go back to the south' and 'How come you're not picking cotton?' Things like that. It didn't bother me. I just wanted to be a hockey player, and if they couldn't accept that fact, that was their problem, not mine."
This further indicates the class of this individual. He was always a nice man throughout his career and is now the Director of Youth Development for the NHL/USA Hockey Diversity Task Force, which is a non-profit organization devoted to aiming hockey to minority youth.
45 Games Played, 4 Goals, 10 Assists, 26 PIM
1. Bryce Salvador
As of right now he has the most games played by any NHL defenseman. He has always been known as a solid defensive defenseman who is never out of place in his zone and isn't scared of getting his nose dirty.
As of now: 481 Games Played, 17 Goals, 51 Assists, 450 PIM
2. Sean Brown
Brown was a first round pick in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. He was always known as a hard-nosed defenseman who was willing to take off the gloves once in a while. He never materialized as a top flight defenseman in the NHL like scouts hoped, but was still a serviceable defenseman in the NHL. He currently plays in Austria.
436 Games Played, 14 Goals, 43 Assists, 907 PIM
3. Francis Bouillon
He was drafted as a puck moving defenseman, but has carved his niche as a defenseman who is good in his own end. He has always been solid with the puck and rarely gets noticed, meaning he makes few errors. He has played all but four games of his career with the Montreal Canadiens.
As of now: 455 Games Played, 18 Goals, 79 Assists, 345 PIM
4. Trevor Daley
Is currently playing for the Dallas Stars and is known as a solid third-fourth defenseman who can move the puck and is not scared to get his nose dirty. He will be higher on this list in the future with more experience.
As of now: 293 Games Played, 16 Goals, 50 Assists, 271 PIM
5. Jean-Luc Grande-Pierre
He played most of his career with the expansion Columbus Blue Jackets, and was known as being just a plain old nasty defenseman. He loved to scrap and he loved to hit and that's about it. He is currently playing hockey in the German Elite League.
269 Games Played, 7 Goals, 13 Assists, 311 PIM
6. Johnny Oduya
Oduya is one of the top defenseman for the New Jersey Devils and is a two-way defenseman. He is currently known as a player who has the potential to be a top defenseman in this league and has a good shot from the point. He will also be much higher on this list as time passes.
As of now: 178 Games Played, 10 Goals, 39 Assists, 115 PIM
1. Grant Fuhr
Easily the most famous black hockey player to date, Fuhr is the only black player in the Hockey Hall of Fame and has four Stanley Cups to his resume. He played in the NHL for 19 seasons and has over 400 wins and is known as one of the most winningest goaltenders in NHL history. He is also the first black player taken in the first round of the NHL Draft.
868 Games Played, 403 Wins, 295 Losses, 25 Shutouts and a 3.38 GAA
2. Ray Emery
One of the most controversial goaltenders ever to play the game, Emery was known as a savior one season and a plague the next. Has a lot of talent but has had troubles finding his game. He helped take Ottawa to the Stanley Cup finals in 2007 and is now currently playing in Russia.
As of now: 134 Games Played, 71 Wins, 40 Losses, 8 Shutouts, 2.71 GAA
There were a lot of players that I had to choose from and it was hard for each category. I learned a lot throughout the process of finding all these players and it made me realize that all leagues, not just the NHL, are always further diversifying and bettering themselves because of it.
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