The greatest defect of Canada’s relationship to hockey is the erasure of Black contributions to the history of the sport. A new documentary called “Black Ice” debuting at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) aims to re-center these pivotal accomplishments by Black men and women, while comprehensively detailing the state of the game for Black people within hockey through a contemporary lens.
Black Ice, presented by UNINTERRUPTED Canada, a subsidiary of Good Karma Productions, premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 10. Directed by Oscar-nominee Hubert Davis, Black Ice aims to provide the first all-encompassing account of Black hockey history in Canada, while affording a clear window into how many current Black players are currently trying to affect positive change for a new generation of kids, clearly inspired by their respective impacts.
The majority of hockey fans are unaware of the existence of the Coloured Hockey League (1895-1930), an all-Black league based out of Nova Scotia that was governed by Baptist church leaders. It predates the National Hockey League by three decades and Eddie Martin of the Halifax Eureka was the first person to take a slapshot during a 1906 contest. In large part due to hockey’s tendency to whitewash Black accomplishments, along with an ignorance of Black historical contributions to hockey, Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion, a six-time Stanley Cup champion with the Montreal Canadiens, has been widely credited with the development of the slapshot in established hockey publications and records.
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